This bill — the Moving Forward Act — would provide more than $1.5 trillion in funding for projects involving upgrades to highways, public transit, and airports, in addition to overhauling schools & hospitals, all while prioritizing energy efficiency. A breakdown of the 2,309 page bill can be found below.
This section would reauthorize federal surface transportation programs for federal aid highways, transit, and safety programs at FY2020 levels through FY2021. It would also:
Authorize an additional $14.742 billion in contract authority from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Highway Account above FY2020 levels, and distribute those funds according to existing formulas. Funds made available under this section could be used for the broadest construction eligibilities under the federal aid highway program, as well as transportation-related administrative expenses, including salaries and benefits.
Authorize an additional $5.79 billion in contract authority from the Federal Transit Administration’s Mass Transit Account above FY2020 levels and allow funds obligated in FY2021 to be up to 100% federal share. Funds could be used for both capital & operating expenses, including the purchase of personal protective equipment & paying for administrative leave costs due to reductions in service. Transit agencies would have to use these funds to the maximum extent possible for payroll & provision of public transit service.
Authorize a total of $257.4 billion in contract authority for FY2022-2025 would be authorized for the federal aid highways program, and the Dept. of Transportation’s (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program would be reauthorized. It would authorize administrative expenses for the FHWA for FY2022-2025, and establish distribution formulas for nine federal-aid highway programs apportioned to states.
Enact a requirement for tolling agreements to be made with the FHWA would be reinstated, which would entail project sponsors consider factors such as congestion & air quality impacts on the toll facility & non-tolled roads onto which traffic may be diverted, planned investments to improve public transportation or non-tolled alternatives in the corridor, environmental justice & equity impacts, impacts on freight movements, and economic impacts. Public transportation vehicles & intercity buses can use new toll facilities without paying a toll.
Ensure that only low emission & hybrid single occupancy vehicles can utilize high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Add “construction materials” to the materials covered by Buy America requirements, and ensure a public process before waiving Buy America requirements.
Establish a Projects of National & Regional Significance (PNRS) program with roughly $9 billion over the life of the bill for large highway, transit, and passenger & freight rail projects that reduce congestion on roadway & can’t be funded through annual apportionments or other discretionary sources.
This section would authorize $66.3 billion in contract authority for FY2022-2025 for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). It would require transit agencies to respond to intercity and charter bus requests for reasonable access within 75 days, restore the ability to incorporate art into transit facilities, and create a uniform and customer-friendly Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint process. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) would be required to consider carbon pollution & emissions reduction, climate change, resilience, and hazard mitigation throughout the planning process.
It would also create a new competitive program funded at $100 million annually to increase bus frequency, ridership, and total person throughput by redesigning urban streets and corridors to efficiently move transit vehicles in congested urban areas. The current incentive formula based on low operating costs would be replaced with a formula based on vehicles per hour during peak service in the highest 25% of routes by ridership. This would incentivize ridership rather than low-cost bus operations, and the formula change would begin in 2023.
Buy American provisions would be reformed to close loopholes that allow waived components & components exceeding 70% domestic content to receive credit for 100% domestic content. It would incentivize higher domestic content by including final assembly costs into the domestic content calculation, providing an automatic 2.5% increase in domestic content if a zero-emission vehicle uses domestic battery cells, providing a bonus of 10% of domestic content for any component that exceeds 70%, and providing a bonus of 15% of domestic content for any component that exceeds 75%.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY
This section would authorize $4.3 billion in contract authority for FY2022-2025 for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration program grants. It would create new state highway safety program requirements to address the risk of leaving children or other unattended occupants in vehicles when there is a risk of hyperthermia; the proper use of child safety seats, including booster seats, with an emphasis on underserved populations; and to reduce deaths & injuries resulting from violations of state ‘move over laws’ which require drivers to reduce their speed or change lanes when there is an emergency or other vehicle parked on or near a roadway.
States which have legalized marijuana would be required to consider additional programs to increase public awareness of the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving and to reduce injuries and fatalities resulting from marijuana-impaired driving.
It would also authorize $2.2 billion in contract authority for FY2022-2025 for motor carrier safety grants under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to assist states in truck and bus safety oversight and enforcement activities, commercial driver licensing, and technology improvements to support those efforts. Additionally, it would authorize $1.5 billion for FY2022-2025 for FMCSA’s motor carrier safety operations & programs.
This section would authorize $2.2 billion in contract authority for FY2022-2025 for research & development programs. It would establish a new comprehensive research, development, and deployment pipeline to advance the use of greener construction materials, which would award grants to universities to research greener material designs & practices during the production & construction process, including materials to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
The Non-Traditional & Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council would issue guidance within 18 months of enactment to establish a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop transportation.
The DOT would be directed to study how automated vehicles will safely interact with general road users, including vulnerable road users such as bicyclists & pedestrians.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION
This section would prohibit DOT from issuing any regulation ensuring the safety of transporting lithium batteries in air cargo compartments of passenger & cargo planes if the regulations are more stringent than the lowest common denominator of international standards. The DOT would rescind any authorization for the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail tank car issued before the date of enactment.
This section would authorize $29.3 billion over five years in grants to support Amtrak’s intercity passenger rail service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) & the National Network. It would provide Amtrak with higher funding levels for FY2021-22 than subsequent years to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on its network. Amtrak’s mission and goals would be revised to reflect congressional priorities, and clarify that Amtrak serves the public interest in providing reliable passenger rail service.
Smoking & vaping on Amtrak trains, including electronic cigarettes, would be prohibited. Any individual onboard a train who prepares food & beverage service would be required to be an Amtrak employee.
Railroad carriers providing intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation would be required to survey their systems and develop plans identifying each main track location where a reduction of more than 20 miles-per-hour exist to ensure compliance with the maximum authorized speed at each location, describe actions to enable warning & enforcement of maximum authorized speed, and set milestones for implementing such actions.
This section would authorize $4 billion from the Airport & Airway Trust Fund for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program for fiscal years 2021-2025.
This section would provide the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Construction account with $10 billion to carry out the backlog of authorized water resources development projects. It would also authorize a total of $40 billion in funding authorizations for Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs, plus $1.5 billion over FY2021-2025 in grants to assist states in implementing state water quality improvement programs, and $1 billion for municipalities to carry out watershed, wet weather, and resiliency projects.
ENERGY & COMMERCE
This section would appropriate $80 billion to fund competitive bidding systems to build broadband infrastructure, of which 75% would be used for a nationwide system of competitive bidding to fund broadband deployment in underserved areas. The remaining 25% of funds would be distributed among states by population, and states would conduct statewide systems of competitive bidding for broadband deployment in unserved areas, areas with low-tier service, and to unserved anchor institutions. If a state doesn’t have unserved areas or areas with low-tier service, funding may be used for broadband deployment in areas with mid-tier service.
MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
This section would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a final rule requiring vehicles to be equipped with a system that detects the presence of a child or other occupant left unattended in a vehicle and issues warnings to prevent vehicular heatstroke.
Minimum performance standards would be established for 21st century smart cars and all new passenger motor vehicles would be required to be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems.
NHTSA would be directed to prescribe a motor vehicle safety standard requiring passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with an advanced drunk driving prevention system that detects if the driver is intoxicated.
This section would also mandate that limousines meet federal standards for safety belts, seats, and seat assemblies and close a loophole allowing used vehicles to be converted into limousines without meeting federal safety standards.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT INFRASTRUCTURE
A research program within the Dept. of Energy would be established for energy storage systems, components, and materials with $175 million annually for FY2021-2025; plus $100 million annually for technical assistance and grant programs; and $150 million annually for demonstration programs.
A grant program for states to improve the performance of the natural gas distribution program would be authorized with $250 million annually for FY2021-2025. A grant program for solar installations located in, or that serve, low-income & underserved areas would be authorized with $200 million annually for FY2021-2025.
DOE would be required to establish a Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program to provide rebate to homeowners for retrofits that achieve home energy savings. It would include $800 for the installation of insulation & air sealing, or $1,500 for the installation of insulation, air sealing, and replacement of a hearing, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Minimum criteria would be established for states to receive grant funding under the program. Homeowners performing retrofits projected to save at least 20% of energy usage would be eligible for a $2,000 rebate; while retrofits projected to save at least 40% of energy usage would be eligible for a $4,000 rebate. This section would authorize $1 billion annually for FY2021-2025 for this program, and DOE would provide technical support for contractors, rebate aggregators, states, and tribes to assist in carrying out the program.
The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program would be authorized with $3.5 billion annually for FY2021-2025.
The Community Health Center Capital Project grants would be funded with $10 billion in total funding for FY2021-2025, and it would be required that any awards be used for projects that will increase energy efficiency, energy resiliency, or a greater use of renewable energy. A pilot program to improve laboratory infrastructure would be authorized with $4.5 billion in total funding for FY2021-2025.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) would be provided with $5 billion in total funding for FY2021-2025 for the planning, design, construction, modernization, and renovation of hospitals & outpatient healthcare facilities within the agency.
The Postal Service would be authorized with $25 billion in funding for the modernization of postal infrastructure & operations, with $6 billion reserved for the purchase of new vehicles. The Postal Service would be required to use funds to purchase electric or zero-emission vehicles to replace its current right-hand-drive vehicles to the maximum extent practicable, with at least 75% of the new fleet such vehicles.
The Public Housing Capital Fund would be authorized with $70 billion to address the estimated backlog of physical repairs needed to maintain safe & decent housing. An additional $5 billion would be authorized to the National Housing Trust Fund to support creation, rehabilitation, or preservation of housing that would be affordable to the lowest income households. The Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program would be authorized with $5 billion for the construction, purchase, or rehabilitation of affordable rental & homeownership opportunities for low-income & very low-income people, and at least 10% of the funding would have to be used for green housing investments.
The Community Development Block Grant program would be authorized with $10 billion for a new competitive allocation of funding for states, localities, and territories for a broad range of affordable housing & community development activities.
A total of $100 billion would be authorized from FY2020-2024 for grants to be used for the long-term improvement of public school facilities. States would have through FY2029 to use the funding.
This section would authorize several ways to partially offset the cost of this bill, including:
Build American Bonds that would allow issuers to receive a tax credit equal to an applicable percentage of interest to provide direct support for infrastructure investments made by state & local governments. The credit for interest paid on qualified bonds would total 42% for 2020-2024, 38% in 2025, 34% in 2026, and 30% in 2027 and thereafter.
Qualified highway or surface transfer facility bonds would have their limit increase to $18.750 billion and Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements would be in effect for projects funded with bond proceeds.
New Markets Tax Credit totalling $7 billion for 2020, $6 billion for 2021, $5 billion for 2022 & thereafter.