November 15, 2021

Duckworth’s Transportation Provisions Become Law as President Signs Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Duckworth provisions would help improve transit accessibility, protect roadside first responders, establish a permanent disability advocate seat on the Amtrak Board of Directors and reduce traffic congestion in major metropolitan areas


[WASHINGTON, DC] — After joining President Biden as he signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law at the White House this afternoon, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) highlighted how several of its provisions that she led will help improve the lives of working Americans by reducing traffic congestion, encouraging the creation of good-paying local jobs across the nation, protecting roadside responders and improving transit accessibility, among many other benefits for workers.

“This bipartisan compromise that the President signed into law today will finally put our nation on a path to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, fix our roads and bridges and take critical steps towards tackling the climate crisis while helping working Americans across the country save time and find good-paying jobs,” Duckworth said. “I’m also proud that I was able to secure key provisions in this bill to accelerate the achievement of equality of access aboard public transit, help make sure Amtrak’s leadership team is listening to the needs of the disability community and save first responder lives.” 

Key Duckworth transportation provisions included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal would help:

  • Ensure Americans with Disabilities can access rail transit, giving them more independence and access to employment by establishing a discretionary grant program for legacy rail fixed guideway public transportation systems (transit and commuter rail).
    • This provision is based off of Senator Duckworth’s All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act and is funded at $1.75 billion over 5 years.
    • According to recent Federal Transit Administration (FTA) data, nearly 20% of U.S. transit stations are not fully accessible.
  • Provide access to cheaper capital for major U.S. airport projects by extending Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (TIFIA) credit assistance to runway and terminal projects and stretching taxpayer dollars further to create more jobs and economic benefits.
    • This provision includes key components of a bipartisan bill re-introduced by Duckworth and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) earlier this year.
  • Establish a Permanent Disability Advocate Seat on the Amtrak Board of Directors for an individual with a disability who has a demonstrated history or experience with accessibility, mobility, and inclusive transportation in passenger rail or commuter rail.
    • After the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with Amtrak last year to resolve multiple ADA violations, it was clear that carving out a seat on the Amtrak Board of Directors for a disability voice was critical to ensuring the 61 million Americans with disabilities are heard at our nation’s premier passenger rail service.
  • Decrease traffic congestion in major metropolitan areas, saving Americans time and money while also reducing air pollution, by providing $250 million in dedicated funding for competitive grants to states and local governments that advance innovative, integrated and multimodal solutions to congestion relief in major metropolitan areas.
  • Make our roads safer for all drivers and protect roadside first responders by requiring U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish automatic emergency braking (AEB) standards for heavy commercial motor vehicles (>10,000 lbs) and requiring AEB be installed on those vehicles. The bill also requires all new passenger vehicles to be equipped with forward collision warning/AEB systems and lane departure/assist systems and expands funding roadside safety programs, including deployment of digital alert technologies and education campaigns.
    • These provisions are based off of the Protecting Roadside First Responders Act, which was introduced earlier this year by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Duckworth and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17).
  • Encourage local hiring for federal highway construction projects, making sure that jobs are created in communities across Illinois, by removing the prohibition on geographical and economic hiring considerations for these types of projects.
  • Improve accessibility at Amtrak stations by requiring Amtrak to budget at least $50 million per year ($250 million over 5 years) for accessibility upgrades to stations across its system.

Duckworth is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation (CST) and the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.