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Colorado legislative news

The Colorado State Legislature ended their legislative session for 2019 on May 3, 2019. To see bills & more legislative alerts, head to www.takingthehill.com.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will be out of session for the next 2 weeks. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) unanimously approved by voice vote S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. This is the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. A massive hurdle for EPW and the Senate, the bill still has numerous speed bumps before the legislation heads to the Senate floor for a full vote. 
  • Aside from a 27% increase in funding, S. 2302 addresses autonomous vehicles (AV’s). Section 1512 directs the Secretary of Transportation in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board to conduct a study to identify specific immediate and long-term types of improvements to roadway infrastructure that would benefit the largest segment of road users, AV’s & automated driving systems. The study would also include examining how to “best achieve uniformity in roadway infrastructure to facilitate the safe deployment of AV’s and automated driving systems” (pg. 861). 
  • Section 1513 of the bill addresses vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology. This section also directs the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study with the Transportation Research Board to identify immediate & long-term safety benefits of vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity technologies and technologies that would allow motor vehicles & roadway infrastructure to communicate using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) (pg. 862). 
  • Enter stage left, the FCC – Chairman Ajit Pai announced a possible rulemaking that would review the usage of the 5.9 GHz band, which has been dedicated to transportation. The 75 megahertz have been reserved for DRSC and automakers plan to use the space for V2X communication technology, which is necessary for the development of smart cities and would aid in the deployment autonomous vehicles. 
  • There are 3 sides to every story – the FCC’s, the automakers, and the Wi-Fi & cable industry. The Wi-Fi and cable industry is saying they know how to share and should be allotted some of the 75 megahertz the FCC reserved for transportation 20 years ago. Due to the rising debate surrounding the band, Chairman Pai says yes, that was 20 years ago, lets reconsider. The automakers wanted the space for DRSC & emerging technology like V2X. 
  • In an effort to preserve the band space, all 50 heads of state transportation departments, including D.C. &Puerto Rico, wrote Chairman Pai explaining why the band should be preserved. Read the letter here. As of now, Chairman Pai has delayed the rulemaking after a request from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. 
  • But with innovation comes consequences – this week U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Heidi King warning about the cybersecurity vulnerabilities and public safety risks internet connected cars pose & wondering if NHTSA has done anything about it.

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