NABSA Reviews How the US House of Representatives’ Infrastructure Framework Stacks Up to Benefit Shared Micromobility

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, established in 2015, provided the funds needed to begin making overdue improvements to our nation’s transportation system. The FAST Act is now open for Reauthorization and has the potential to make a long-lasting positive impact on shared micromobility and the people that utilize it. Last year, in preparation for Reauthorization, the US Congress began conversations about their vision for a new bill. NABSA has been participating in that conversation by taking our priorities to Capitol Hill.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s passage of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) last year was a key milestone for Reauthorization. NABSA remains hopeful that a bill will increase funding for programs that support bikeshare and shared micromobility, and prioritize vulnerable roadway user safety; however, we also want to see direct inclusion of bikeshare and shared micromobility as a federally-recognized form of public transportation.

The next step in Reauthorization is the formulation of a bill by the House of Representatives. The first phase of this has been the release of the House’s Moving Forward Framework, which is their articulation of principles that would guide their bill. The Framework provides $434 billion over five years to improve highways and transit systems while aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve roadway safety. This eye toward environmental impact and roadway safety is encouraging, and NABSA sees opportunities for the bill to include favorable provisions for shared micromobility, while also identifying areas of improvement. Aspects of the Framework can directly improve the way people navigate on our streets. Below, we discuss how the Framework stacks up with our priorities for a Reauthorization bill.

Among the many essential priorities outlined in the Framework, are areas that should include bikeshare and shared micromobility.

NABSA recommends that the following priorities outlined in the Framework translate to including funding for direct investment in bikeshare and shared micromobility systems, and federally recognize bikeshare and shared micromobility as forms of public transportation in a Reauthorization bill. These modes have already demonstrated their capacity to lower greenhouse emissions and congestion, promoting greener communities.

  • Investment in Carbon Pollution Reduction – Incentivizes projects to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector and promotes cleaner communities around transportation facilities. Focuses on cutting congestion and related pollution, including through the use of technology in urban areas.
  • Reduces Pollution – Requires States to measure greenhouse gas pollution; focuses States and MPOs on developing policies and making investments that will reduce transportation-sector pollution; supports innovative construction materials to reduce our carbon footprint; reforms the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program to prioritize clean, zero pollution options; and boosts investment in cycling, walking, and public transportation.

The Highway Safety priority outlined in the Framework aligns with our priority for a focus on, and incentives for, Complete Streets, and adequate funding for improving and installing safe infrastructure for use by shared micromobility.

  • Targets Highway Safety – Modifies the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to focus on safety improvements that address the greatest safety risks, including improving pedestrian and cyclist safety; addressing hazards on high-risk rural roads; improving work-zone safety; and providing children safe routes to school. Requires States and MPOs to use Complete Streets standards and policies; supports the implementation of Vision Zero goals; and expands innovative solutions to improve highway-railroad grade crossing safety and congestion.

Additionally, the Framework identifies a priority to expand local decision-making authority over the utilization of federal funds. As a long-time advocate of local decision-making authority for the planning and implementation of shared micromobility, NABSA is encouraged to see this highlighted.

While NABSA is excited and optimistic about the current direction of the Framework, we acknowledge that there is still room for improvement. More funding is needed to execute the priorities listed effectively and bikeshare and shared micromobility needs recognition as a form of public transportation. Funding is one of the most immediate challenges for a FAST Act Reauthorization bill. The Framework points out that the Highway Trust Fund has had a shortfall of about $150 billion over the last decade. Policy-makers will need to answer this funding question and agree on a plan for a bill to move forward.

NABSA will continue to monitor the development of a surface transportation reauthorization bill and advocate for revisions that are inclusive of bikeshare and shared micromobility. Visit nabsa.net/advocacy for the latest news.