Dear Senators Cortez Masto, Burr, Sinema and Gardner:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center (“C_TEC”) and the National League of Cities (“NLC”) applaud your leadership in introducing S. 1939, the “Moving and Fostering Innovation to Revolutionize Smarter Transportation (“Moving FIRST”) Act.”
This legislation would ensure America’s global technological leadership by embracing smart cities, which will be vital to reducing traffic congestion, encouraging energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, and connecting Americans to greater economic opportunities.
The Moving FIRST Act extends the successful Department of Transportation (“DOT”) Smart Cities Challenge. Columbus, Ohio which won $40 million in DOT grants from the program, was able to leverage its initial federal support into nearly $500 million in additional private and public investment.
Smart cities also hold the promise of increased municipal savings. According to one study by Accenture, “smart city solutions applied to the management of vehicle traffic and electrical grids could produce $160 billion in benefits and savings through reductions in energy use, traffic congestion, and fuel costs.”
Passage of the Moving FIRST Act would expand the opportunities from the Smart Cities Challenge to large, medium-sized, and rural communities in need of growth and increased connectivity. C_TEC also believes that those localities awarded Moving FIRST grants should use them in a way that is complementary and not competitive to privately-owned and already-existing communications infrastructure.
As the densification of urban populations continues, it will be critical that cities more efficiently manage traffic and the services they offer their citizens. Advanced technology using sensors and data will be critical for our nation’s municipalities to effectively tackle 21st century challenges.
Pilot projects such as those envisioned by the Moving FIRST Act would accelerate the growth of smart cities and help localities not receiving funds learn how to incorporate technology into their planning. The funding provided by the Moving FIRST Act would enable these smart projects to get the start they need and help the nation lead in innovation, and it is for this reason C_TEC and NLC encourage passage of S. 1939.