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Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.

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.

House of Representatives expected to vote by July 4 on surface transportation bill

House spent more than 24 hours on markup of INVEST in America Act

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The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act is headed for a full vote in the House of Representatives prior to July 4, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) who said voting could begin as early as June 30.

After a markup process that lasted a little more than 24 hours, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted to pass the INVEST in America Act late Thursday night. The committee voted along party lines, 35-25, to pass the five-year surface transportation reauthorization through the committee. The markup saw the consideration of 177 amendments over a two-day span that, at times, became heated as Republicans made it clear they believed they were shut out in drafting the $494 billion package.

House resolution honors ATSSA’s 50th anniversary

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Three members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution this week recognizing the 50th anniversary of the American Traffic Safety Services Association. The bi-partisan resolution was initiated by Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican representing Virginia’s 1st District, and Road Safety Caucus Chairs Bruce Westerman,  a Republican representing Arkansas’ 4th District, and Chris Pappas, a Democrat representing New Hampshire’s 1st District.