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Committee Leaders Introduce Surface Transportation Research & Development Act of 2021

May 28, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) along with Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Ranking Member Michael Waltz (R-FL) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology introduced the Surface Transportation Research and Development Act of 2021. This legislation will support research and development to accelerate progress toward a safer and more efficient, equitable, and resilient surface transportation system.

This legislation would:

  • Authorize the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) surface transportation research, development, and demonstration programs from fiscal years 2022-2027
  • Support existing and new highway research programs, including the Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program and the Road Weather Centers of Excellence program
  • Update the Exploratory Advanced Research program for long-term, high-risk research
  • Support research to understand the role that autonomous trucking may play in the future movement of freight
  • Authorize multimodal transportation research programs, including providing increased funding for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and doubling the University Transportation Center (UTC) program
  • Enable DOT to better plan for the future of surface transportation research, including by requiring updates to the Department’s research and development strategic plan on a regular five-year cycle, establishing a surface transportation research and development advisory board, and requiring a research agenda for national freight research

“I applaud President Biden for his ambitious plans to update the nation’s transportation systems and I remain hopeful that Congress can come to bipartisan agreement on infrastructure,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “As Chairwoman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I understand that any agreement on infrastructure must not lose sight of the critical role of research and development in our transportation future. 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 safer, more equitable, more efficient, and more sustainable. 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 these bipartisan priorities for transportation innovation.”

“The Department of Transportation’s research and development work yields major innovations, changing forever how Americans move from place to place, and how we transport goods, products, and food across millions of miles of roads and rails crisscrossing the country,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK). “By funding the basic research needed to develop the next generation of transportation technologies, we are ensuring our economy can continue to grow and compete in the future.  China knows the value of these technologies and has prioritized passing the U.S. in the autonomous transportation sector in the next decade. Our bipartisan Science Committee bill invests in the research needed to revolutionize surface transportation in the U.S., with a focus on emerging technologies like autonomous trucking and weather resiliency. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to move this through Congress, and getting it passed into law.”

“America’s roadways were once the envy of the world, boosting our productivity and economic success,” said Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI). “However, without substantial public sector investment in building a 21st century surface transportation system, and the R&D to make that system possible, our crumbling and outdated transportation infrastructure will continue to pose great risk to lives, our economy, and the climate.  This legislation is a bold step forward to advancing both long term, high risk research and nearer-term development and demonstration opportunities in surface transportation, and ensuring that promising transportation innovations find their way into practice.”  

“Florida has strong representation in the University Transportation Center program and is focusing on resilience at all levels of government,” said Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Waltz (R-FL). “This bill doubles the University Transportation Center program and establishes Resilient Transportation Infrastructure Centers of Excellence. These programs will create efficiencies for moving commerce and protect Florida’s communities from severe weather and rising seas.”

117th Congress