PORTLAND, Maine (NEWSnet/AP) — The signal might be fading, but it can’t be lost.

That’s the message from politicians who are closing in on the required number of votes needed to pass federal legislation that requires AM radios in every new car.

The prevalence of AM broadcast radio has dipped in recent decades as more listeners turn to options such as satellite radio and podcasts during drivetime. But a large, bipartisan group of lawmakers believes saving the AM dial is critical to public safety, especially in rural America, and they want to ensure access to it via car radios.

“The emergency alert system works on the AM spectrum - that’s where people get information about emergencies,” said independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. “It’s a critical source of information, particularly in rural areas that might not have clear access to an FM signal.”

King, and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins, are among dozens of lawmakers supporting the AM for Every Vehicle Act.

Lawmakers first proposed the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate last year, and it has gained a wave of new cosponsors in recent weeks. There are now enough cosponsors to pass the bill in the House, and the Senate is only a few sponsors away, federal records state.

The proposal would have the U.S. Department of Transportation require all new motor vehicles to have devices that can access AM broadcast stations. The rules would apply to vehicles manufactured in the U.S., imported into the country, or shipped in interstate commerce.

It was unclear on Monday when the proposal could come up for votes.

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