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ATSSA endorses rural road safety legislation introduced in the House

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Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) 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 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, local governments generally do not have the resources needed to make critical, lifesaving roadway safety infrastructure investments.

H.R. 2481 would create a $600 million competitive grant program that local governments could apply for, with the federal grant being funded at 100%. A specific $100 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.

ATSSA asks DOTs for support during tightening of raw materials market

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to directors of state departments of transportation (DOTs) on behalf of the roadway safety infrastructure industry as it struggles with a tightening of the raw materials market.

“Currently, the availability of several key raw materials has tightened in the market from several factors including reduced production from COVID‐19 plant shutdowns and the extreme weather events in the Midwest/Texas in February,” Tetscher says in the letter. “This tightening of raw materials is impacting metals and petroleum‐based products used in the roadway safety industry, including aluminum, steel, plastic, and pavement marking and high friction surface treatment resins.”

He notes that the shrinking supply of these materials has a direct effect on the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

ATSSA issues recommendations for a Vulnerable Road Users Program

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ATSSA recently released its recommendations for “Developing an Effective Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Program” to address rising pedestrian fatalities as well as the safety of people not in vehicles but who utilize the roadways.

“This includes bicyclists and others who might not only walk, but roll, and are at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage when crossing a road or being in a road with vehicles and trucks,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said in a letter to the heads of state departments of transportation (DOTs) across the country.

The document includes 19 recommendations assembled by ATSSA’s Traffic Signals Committee that Tetschner said ATSSA believes “will help put VRUs on a more equal footing with vehicle‐based travel, not only in terms of safety, but as a means of effective and efficient travel mode.”

Biden proposes $2 trillion infrastructure plan

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President Joe Biden today released a proposal to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure projects over an 8-year period. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the broadly defined infrastructure concept is separated into four components: Transportation infrastructure and roadway safety, “How We Live” infrastructure, “Care” infrastructure, and Innovation infrastructure.

"ATSSA applauds President Biden, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the administration on ensuring that roadway safety is front and center in the American Jobs Plan,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “Between increasing funding for roadway safety projects, a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety, encouraging and funding vision zero programs, and noting the emotional toll that roadway fatalities and serious injuries have on American families, this proposal will put us on a path of reducing fatalities toward zero in the decades to come. ATSSA looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to make zero fatalities a reality through investments in roadway safety infrastructure.”

ATSSA reaches out to state DOTs for help regarding resin shortage

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner today sent a letter to the heads of state Departments of Transportation requesting assistance in light of the current shortage of base resin.

Two major manufacturers of base resin are currently unable to provide the substance used in High Friction Surface Treatment applications due to circumstances beyond their control, Tetschner explains in the letter. He notes that the issue is related to February’s extreme weather events in the Midwest and Texas.

“With US-based materials supply limited, increased costs over the last several months, and a significant delay in shipping overseas materials to the United States, it is likely that some already agreed upon supply contract deadlines will be impacted,” Tetschner states in today’s letter to DOT secretaries across the country.

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