By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

A bipartisan group of 26 U.S. senators is supporting $49.95 billion in immediate aid for state departments of transportation (DOTs). Led by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), the group sent a June 16 letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) urging inclusion of the request in the next round of COVID-19 response legislation.

The state DOTs have identified the amount as the projected loss in transportation related revenues due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

ARTBA worked with other allied organizations to gain bipartisan support for the request. The letter mirrors an effort in the House of Representatives, where 137 members signed a May 11 letter supporting the state DOT request.

The House May 15 passed the Health & Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would provide $15 billion for state DOTsas a backstop through the end of the fiscal year.

The Senate has not set a timeline for considering its next piece of COVID-19 response legislation. Its proposal is not expected before mid- July. ARTBA will continue working to ensure both the state DOT request and a long-term surface transportation bill are signed into law in the coming months.