Over the last few weeks, APTA expressed serious concerns with two provisions of H.R. 2, the “INVEST in America Act”, that address one of our top priorities: mobility innovation. Section 2203 (Mobility Innovation) and section 2603 (Innovation Workforce Standards) of the bill, as reported, place restrictions on the incorporation of mobility on demand and automated vehicles in public transit agencies’ services. APTA members and staff have urged the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) to address our concerns with these restrictions.

On June 29, T&I Committee Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) filed a revised Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 2 that includes several important changes to section 2203 (Mobility Innovation) and section 2603 (Innovation Workforce Standards). The House of Representatives will consider H.R. 2 this week and we expect the Manager’s Amendment to be made in order for debate. We expect the House to adopt the Manager’s Amendment.

To view the Manager’s Amendment, please click here.

Mobility Innovation

Section 2203 permits public transit agencies to use 49 U.S.C. §§ 5307, 5310, and 5311 formula funding for mobility on demand (MOD) services and mobility as a service (MAAS). H.R. 2, as reported by the T&I Committee, included provisions that would reduce the federal share by 25 percent if the recipient uses a third-party contract or non-zero-emission vehicle as part of its service. The Secretary has very limited authority to waive requirements and can issue a waiver only if it is determined that the project will not undermine labor standards, will increase employment opportunities, and is in the public interest. In addition, section 2203 included a prohibition on the use of funds for service considered a taxi service.

The Manager’s Amendment made several important changes to § 2203:

Federal Share: Reduces the overall federal share to 70 percent; strikes the two provisions that reduce the federal share by 25 percent; increases the federal share to no more than 90 percent for mobility on demand services operated exclusively by personnel employed by the recipient; and increases the federal share to no more than 90 percent if the service uses zero-emission vehicles.

Prohibition on Use of Funds: Revises the language related to prohibiting the use of taxi services to limit the prohibition to taxi service that “operates under an exemption from testing requirements under section 5331.”

Waivers: Revises the language that would have required the Secretary to make a determination that a project would “increase employment opportunities” to allow the Secretary to determine that the project would increase employment opportunities or that the waiver “does not affect employment opportunities”.

Savings Clause: Revises the savings clause to include not only service being carried out in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but also “projects eligible under section 5310 that exceed the requirements” of the ADA. Accordingly, the prohibition on use of funds and the application of recipient revenue vehicle miles would not apply to either ADA or other paratransit service.

Innovation Workforce Standards (Autonomous Vehicles)

Section 2603 of the bill, as reported, prohibits the use of federal transit funds for automated vehicles providing public transportation unless the public transit agency certifies to the Secretary that the deployment does not “duplicate, eliminate, or reduce the frequency of existing public transportation service” and the Secretary receives, approves, and publishes from the transit agency a workforce development plan. In addition, a transit agency is required to issue a notice to employees of potential job loss due to the new services not later than 60 days before issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for the service.

The Manager’s Amendment made several important changes to § 2603:

Prohibition on Use of Funds: Strikes the word “duplicate”. Therefore, the workforce development plan requirements only apply to services that “eliminate or reduce the frequency of existing service”.

Notice to Employees: Revises the timing of the notice to employees from 60 days before issuing an RFP to 60 days before “signing a contract for such service or procurement.” The provision also requires that an agency provide employees a copy of an RFP related to automated vehicles or mobility on demand services upon request.

Savings Clause: Adds a savings clause to section 2603 stating that “Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of funds for an eligible activity or pilot project of a covered recipient authorized under current law prior to the date of enactment of this Act.”

Knowledge is power. APTA’s Industry Footprint shows every public transit system, supplier, and manufacturer by Congressional District and State. Use this great resource during your next Congressional meeting and show your Member of Congress the importance of the public transportation industry in your regional economy.

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