Three Rosen-Led Amendments Also Adopted as Bipartisan Package Advances by Vote of 25-3

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement after voting to advance the Surface Transportation Investment Act (STIA) out of committee. This legislation includes Senator Rosen’s bipartisan Travel Optimization by Updating and Revitalizing Infrastructure (TOURISM) Act, which requires the Department of Transportation to update the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan and develop an immediate-term and long-term strategy for the Department and other agencies to use to inform infrastructure investments to revive the travel and tourism economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, three of Senator Rosen’s amendments to improve STIA were adopted by the committee and included in the final passage of the bill.

“I am proud of this Committee’s hard work to put together this important bipartisan legislation to authorize key infrastructure and safety priorities,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation includes my bipartisan TOURISM Act, which will help ensure federal agencies make infrastructure investments to revive the travel and tourism industry in light of the pandemic. STIA also will provide a historic level of funding to the Department of Transportation, as well as to state and local governments, to create new transportation opportunities and update existing infrastructure. This new funding will help to significantly increase ease of access to transportation in communities in Nevada and across the United States.”

BACKGROUND: The Surface Transportation Investment Act provides $78 billion over 5 years for multimodal surface transportation, rail, freight, and safety programs as well as ensure the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), states, local governments, and transportation providers can comprehensively solve the biggest transportation challenges.  The breakdown of funding includes $28 billion for multimodal and freight investments, $36 billion for rail services, $13 billion for improved safety measures, and $1 billion for research.

Senator Rosen’s amendments included in the Committee-passed STIA Bill would:

  • Require DOT to conduct a study on travel and tourism to evaluate DOT’s ability to evaluate travel and tourism needs or criteria in considering applicants for its grant programs.
  • Include impact on tourism as selection criteria for DOT when evaluating local and regional grant applications for federal assistance.
  • Require DOT to provide technical assistance to applicants that are denied for a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant.

The bipartisan TOURISM Act is endorsed by US Travel, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, the Vegas Chamber, the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Chamber of Commerce, and the Urban Chamber of Commerce Las Vegas.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which became law in 2015, required the Secretary of DOT – in consultation with the National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism, State departments of transportation, and other appropriate public and private transportation stakeholders – to develop a National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan, which includes policy recommendations to aid the industry.

DOT published the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan in January 2021, which is intended to inform policy and investment until 2024. However, as this plan was drafted, the pandemic and its impacts were still unfolding.

The TOURISM Act would update the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan to develop an immediate-term and long-term strategy for DOT and other agencies to use infrastructure investments to revive the travel and tourism industry and the overall travel and tourism economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

###

Issues