On July 30, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously voted to advance the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, which contains the PROTECT program—Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation. This new grant program will help communities and states take steps to make transportation infrastructure more resilient in the face of floods, sea level rise, and changing weather conditions. More resilient infrastructure would help improve community safety while benefiting birds, wildlife, and their habitats.
The grants would use natural infrastructure to protect and enhance transportation assets, which in turn protects or improves the natural ecosystem. Projects like installing culverts to maintain habitat connectivity and replacing repetitively flooded roads with saltmarsh help birds, such as Snowy Plovers.
The PROTECT program would help reduce the vulnerability of transportation infrastructure to costly and destructive storms, flooding, and other acts of nature. It would also help communities and states plan for future risks, and employ nature-based methods to reduce flood and storm damages. These steps would save federal, state, and local disaster-related expenditures while enhancing public safety and providing benefits for birds and the places they need. We applaud the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and encourage the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to take up this provision in surface transportation legislation. You can read the letter we sent to the Senate committee members here (PDF).