Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced the Surface Transportation Research and Development Act of 2020. This legislation would authorize the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) surface transportation research, development and demonstration programs from fiscal years 2021-2025.
Furthermore, it would support long-term, high-risk research across all modes of surface transportation; research to ensure roads remain safe under all weather conditions; research to ensure our entire transportation infrastructure remains resilient to natural disasters, extreme weather, and climate change impacts; a study to examine land use and transportation planning for access to essential services and activities, including health, food, and education; and research to understand the role that autonomous trucking may play in the future movement of freight, including during public health crises.
“Our outdated transportation infrastructure has ranked high on the list of our nation’s challenges for many years,” said Chairwoman Johnson. “As the Chairwoman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I understand the critical importance of investing in research and development of smart and innovative solutions for our transportation systems. This legislation aims to build upon the DOT’s 5-year strategic plan for research, development, and technology, and will help support a future of connected transportation systems that are more efficient, safer, more environmentally friendly, and more resilient. I thank my friend and colleague Ranking Member Lucas for joining me to introduce this legislation. I look forward to working with our colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to advance our shared priorities for transportation innovation.”
“The Science Committee has jurisdiction over surface transportation research and development programs,” said Ranking Member Lucas. “Traditionally we work in consultation with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the highway bill. Such cooperation has never been more important. Transportation R&D is often underfunded and needs to be robustly supported – especially since China has targeted transportation as a key area for investment and competition with the U.S. We can’t afford unrealistic and partisan messaging on the Green New Deal to take the place of real progress on transportation R&D. Chairwoman Johnson and I have worked together to develop thoughtful legislation that gives us the tools necessary to conduct forward-thinking R&D to improve America’s transportation infrastructure. I hope these provisions will be included in the surface transportation legislation going forward.”