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House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

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 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.

Register now for ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In

Connect with Capitol Hill policymakers from a socially distant virtual platform

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Take part in ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In from the comfort and safety of home. The April 21-22 event is free for members and will be completely online making access to Capitol Hill policymakers convenient and effective.

Last year’s virtual event proved popular with ATSSA members and provided a great way to interact with legislators without the need for travel. Participants drove their message to Capitol Hill and enjoyed direct interactions with members of Congress and congressional staff involved in funding and policy decisions.

ATSSA’s Legislative Briefing & Fly-In equips members to present key roadway safety infrastructure industry issues directly to political leaders and this year’s issues are key for the industry. The FAST Act, or Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, was a hot topic last year as ATSSA members advocated successfully for a one-year extension but a new deadline is looming.

Report estimates 2020 traffic fatalities highest in 13 years

National Safety Council releases preliminary data on motor vehicle crashes

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Fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2020 increased 8% over the previous year despite a drop in driving because of the pandemic, according to a report released this morning by the National Safety Council (NSC).

Preliminary data suggests 42,060 people died and 4.8 million were seriously injured in crashes in 2020, according to the report. The rate of death from that data shows a 24% rise over the previous year though motorists traveled 13% fewer miles. That accounted for the biggest year-over-year increase in 96 years, the report noted.

“It is tragic that in the U.S., we took cars off the roads and didn’t reap any safety benefits,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said in the release. “These data expose our lack of an effective roadway safety culture. It is past time to address roadway safety holistically and effectively, and NSC stands ready to assist all stakeholders, including the federal government.”

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