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Peters, Blunt Introduce Bill to Promote Investments in Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Technology

Legislation Allows States to Use Existing Funds to Invest in Safety Technology


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Roy Blunt (MO) introduced the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 to promote investments in vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology that will improve vehicle safety, reduce accidents and avoid congestion. 

“Connected vehicles and infrastructure are the next frontier of the American auto industry and vehicle safety, and we must ensure that states can make the necessary investments to implement these critical safety technologies,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to work with Senator Blunt and Representative Candice Miller to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will ensure our infrastructure is keeping pace with these cutting-edge safety technologies and help the vehicles and infrastructure of the future work together to conserve energy, reduce accidents and congestion, and ultimately save lives.” 

“Vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless technology enables vehicles to communicate with each other and the world around them, helping to improve safety, prevent car accidents, and relieve traffic,” Senator Blunt said. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues on this bipartisan bill that would allow states to use existing funds to invest in new critical technologies to improve vehicle safety.” 

The Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 authorizes states to use existing surface and highway transportation funding provided by the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to invest in V2I projects as they upgrade highway infrastructure. 

V2I technologies include wireless exchanges of critical safety and operational information between connected vehicles and infrastructure to help prevent collisions, relieve traffic congestion and reduce unnecessary energy consumption. Examples of V2I applications include monitors on bridges that communicate ice accumulation to approaching vehicles, traffic signals that warn vehicles of stopped traffic, or sensors warning of nearby emergency vehicles or work zones.

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) found that more than 32,000 people were killed in motor vehicles crashes on American roads. According to NTHSA, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and V2I communication technologies have the potential to eliminate up to 80 percent of vehicle accidents involving non-impaired drivers once they are fully deployed.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is an original cosponsor of Peters’ legislation, and U.S. Representatives Candice Miller (MI-10) and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) introduced the House companion legislation in February.

“I appreciate Senator Peters introducing a companion bill in the Senate for this important transportation and traffic safety initiative,” Rep. Miller said. “Starting with the first mile of concrete highway, Michigan has always led this country in automotive innovation and safety, and it is only fitting that I am joined by a fellow Michiganian in this important pursuit to ensure that states have the resources to keep pace with and support the new life-saving technologies of the 21st Century already being developed by our domestic auto industry.”

The Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 has broad support from transportation industry leaders including Ford, General Motors, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers, Cisco and ITS America—the High Tech Transportation Association.

“The auto industry has dedicated significant resources to developing innovative technologies to protect occupants in the event of a crash. Connected vehicle technologies like Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) systems represent the next generation of auto safety that could help to prevent crashes from happening in the first place,” said Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “By creating incentives for states to deploy this emerging technology, Senator Peters and Senator Blunt are paving the way for a safer and less congested transportation network. We applaud their efforts and look forward to working with them on this important safety critical effort.”

“This legislation allows states the freedom to innovate by demonstrating and deploying these technologies to reduce accidents and save lives,” said John Bozzella, President and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers. “We thank Senators Peters and Blunt for their commitment to promoting these advanced communications systems that will make our vehicles and our drivers safer by avoiding up to 80 percent of all unimpaired vehicle crashes.”

“Starting in 2016, Cadillac will introduce vehicles that will be able to wirelessly communicate with other cars and the surrounding infrastructure to improve traffic safety,” said Jon Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer. "GM is an industry leader in this innovative safety technology; and, we support Senator Peters and Senator Blunt's legislation because it will reduce injuries and fatalities on our nation’s streets and highways.”

“Connectivity technologies are driving innovation in vehicles faster than ever. But the future of mobility includes not only smarter cars, but smarter roads and cities. Vehicle-to-Infrastructure can help improve safety and reduce congestion on our roads by advancing development of new models for mobility,” said Curt Magleby, Ford’s Vice President for Government Relations. “We appreciate Senators Peter’s and Blunt’s leadership in promoting the development of intelligent infrastructure, which is critical to improving how the world moves.”

“As the Internet of Everything develops, it holds the power to help improve transportation safety on our nation’s roads,” said Mary Brown, Cisco’s Senior Director of Government Affairs for Spectrum policy.  "Cisco deeply appreciates Senator Peters and Senator Blunt’s introduction of this legislation, which will create momentum behind the effort to make V2I technology a reality.”

“This legislation will ensure that state and local agencies can invest in V2I safety technologies that will allow ‘smart’ infrastructure to communicate in real-time with vehicles to prevent crashes and respond to traffic conditions as part of a connected transportation network,” said Regina Hopper, President and CEO of ITS America. “We applaud Senator Peters and Senator Blunt for their leadership in promoting innovative technology solutions to improve highway and vehicle safety. We look forward to working with them to support this critical legislation.”

Additionally, Peters recently introduced the bipartisan Vehicle Innovation Act (VIA) with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to promote investments in research and development of new vehicle technologies to improve safety and efficiency. VIA directs the Department of Energy to partner with public and private sector entities to promote research in fuel efficient technologies including hybrids, electric vehicles and natural-gas powered vehicles, as well as emphasizes research and development in V2V and V2I technologies to improve safety. Recently, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a proposed rule to be issued by the end of the year that would require these technologies to be implemented in new vehicles.