The U.S. DOT recently announced a Request for Information (RFI) to receive feedback from the public and stakeholders on rural transportation needs and opportunities.
The RFI is part of the U.S. DOT's Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative.
“We want to hear from rural communities how the Department of Transportation can better support their critical transportation infrastructure,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.
U.S. DOT emphasized the critical role that rural communities and their transportation networks play in the success of the American economy, saying they are instrumental in building and supplying essential goods to all communities across the country. Yet, the department notes, rural transportation infrastructure faces significant challenges. According to U.S. DOT, although only one-fifth of Americans live in rural America, traffic fatalities are disproportionately high on rural roadways, totaling 46% of fatalities in 2018. Maintaining the large network of rural roads—which comprise 70% of America’s road miles—is challenging for rural communities who have significantly strained financial resources.
The new ROUTES Initiative addresses these national transportation challenges by assisting rural stakeholders to better understand how to access U.S. DOT grants and financing products and developing data-driven approaches to assess needs and benefits of rural transportation projects.
Secretary Chao established a Departmental Order that created a new internal deliberative body at the department, the ROUTES Council, to oversee the initiative. The RFI seeks input on concerns with rural infrastructure safety, condition, and usage, as well as stakeholders’ experiences using U.S. DOT discretionary grant and finance programs.
SOURCE: U.S. DOT