Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas) introduced H.R. 2481, the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bipartisan proposal, which is strongly supported by the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), would direct federal roadway safety infrastructure funds to locally owned rural roads.
The fatality rate on rural roads is two times greater than on non-rural roads, according to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) statistics. Additionally, ATSSA says local governments generally do not have the resources needed to make critical, lifesaving roadway safety infrastructure investments.
H.R. 2481, which was introduced late Tuesday, would create a $750 million competitive grant program that local governments could apply for, with the federal grant being funded at 100%. A specific $150 million set-aside is also included for tribal road safety.
In addition to ATSSA, the American Highway Users Alliance, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of County Engineers (NACE), and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) endorsed the legislation.
“Rep. O’Halleran’s and Rep. Westerman’s commitment to rural road safety is a testament to their leadership on the issues affecting rural Americans and tribal nations all across the country,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said in a statement. “ATSSA applauds the introduction of H.R. 2481, and our 1,500 members look forward to working with Congress to ensure that roadway safety is the central focal point for federal transportation policy. We know that investments in roadway safety infrastructure projects like the ones in this legislation will certainly save lives and ATSSA is dedicated to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with these members of Congress to reduce roadway fatalities toward zero.”
The legislation spells out 20 categories of road safety projects that would qualify for funding.
SOURCE: American Traffic Safety Services Association