Monday, April 6, 2015

HR 910 Introduced – Vehicle to Infrastructure Communications

As I mentioned earlier, Rep. Miller (R,MI) introduced HR 910, the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015. The bill would add vehicle-to-infrastructure projects to the allowable projects list for three separate federal highway grant programs. No new money is added to any of the programs.

First the bill would modify 29 USC 101(a) by adding a definition of ‘vehicle-to-infrastructure communication equipment’. The definition is fairly generic; describing it as “equipment that provides a wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between highway infrastructure and vehicles” {§101(a)(35) added}. There is nothing in the definition that mentions, even in passing or by suggestion, the cybersecurity issues associated with such communications.

Then the bill adds the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communications equipment as an allowable use to each of the three following grant programs:

∙ National Highway Performance Program {29 USC 119(d)(2)};
∙ Surface Transportation Program {29 USC 133(b)}; and
∙ Highway Safety Improvement Program {29 USC 148(a)(4)(B)}

Since there are no new funds added to these grant program there is unlikely to be any specific opposition to this bill. As always it will be a matter of getting the bill to be considered. While Rep. Candice Miller is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, she is not on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee (one of only 7 Republicans out of 35 that are not on that subcommittee) that would consider the bill. It will be interesting to see if she has enough pull with Chairman Shuster (R,PA) to get the Committee to consider the bill.

If it does make it to the floor of the House for a vote, it will most likely be under a suspension of the rules process with virtually no debate and certainly no amendments. If cybersecurity issues do make it into the bill it will be during the committee markup process.

Cybersecurity Commentary

With all of the recent discussion about vehicular cybersecurity issues, it is really surprising and more than a little disturbing that a bill that provides financial incentives for promoting vehicle-to-infrastructure communications has no mention of cybersecurity issues. Even with cybersecurity being a major topic for discussion in Congress, its real consequences remain overlooked.

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