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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 thanks FHWA for extending feedback time for proposed MUTCD changes

Association joins other industry leaders in opposing rewrite of MUTCD

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter thanking Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack for extending the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

He noted the decade-old MUTCD needs an update, expressed ATSSA’s backing of the process and rejected the recent call by some to rewrite the MUTCD.

“ATSSA supports the ongoing process and we are confident that USDOT will obtain great feedback on how to improve this important manual,” Tetschner wrote. “We understand that some want to start over with the manual and we do not support this idea. We do, however, support a reexamination of the structure, process and content of the MUTCD at a later date. We also want to make it clear that this reexamination should not delay a new edition that our industry desperately needs.”

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.

Wanted: Students with creative minds to tackle a traffic safety challenge

Traffic Control Device Student Challenge returns after pandemic pause

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ATSSA and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices invite students to compete in the 2022 Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge.

The contest returns after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are challenged to come up with “Innovative Traffic Control Device Strategies for Speed Management on Limited Access Freeways.”

The TCD Student Challenge promotes innovation and stimulates ideas in the traffic control devices industry with a goal to improve operations and safety and encourage future generations of roadway safety professionals. As part of the challenge, individuals or student teams submit solutions in the subject area of transportation and roadway safety based on the topic for the year.

FHWA schedules three webinars for proposed MUTCD updates

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has scheduled three webinars through April 1 on topics related to the proposed updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD).

The webinars take place at 2 p.m. EDT and are scheduled as follows: March 18, Introduction and Overview; March 25,  Pedestrians, Bicycles and Transit; and April 1, Urban Traffic Control.

The MUTCD has not undergone a comprehensive update in more than a decade. FHWA is currently accepting comments.

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.

Three companies provide significant help to ATSS Foundation

Generosity helps nonprofit address challenges due to COVID restrictions

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Generous support from PPG/Ennis-Flint, 3M and Ver-Mac made a significant difference for The ATSS Foundation as it started 2021.

The Foundation was forced to cancel its two biggest fundraisers of the year due to COVID-19 restrictions so the assistance from the companies during ATSSA’s recent Convention & Traffic Expo makes a big impact, said Foundation Director Lori Diaz.

Traditionally, The Foundation holds its golf and sporting clays events in conjunction with the Convention but the Convention was forced to move to an online platform as a result of the pandemic, which also meant the two popular events weren’t held.

They’re baaaaaaaaaack – Earmarks that is

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Late last week, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) announced a process for bringing back congressional directed funding, also known as earmarks. Additionally, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) disseminated a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of Congress indicating his plan to include earmarks in the upcoming highway bill, which is expected to be part of a larger House infrastructure package.

Earmarks are projects that receive some level of federal funding for state and local projects in congressional districts. They differ from competitive grant programs in that competitive grants are applied for and decided by staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), whereas earmarks are advocated for by interested parties and members of Congress decide if they want to include them in a particular legislative vehicle.

Because of an extremely bloated earmark process in the 2005 surface transportation bill, Congress opted to ban earmarks starting in 2011. Since then, there have been occasional rumors that they may return; however, DeLauro’s and DeFazio’s announcements mark the first time there has been this serious of an effort.

ATSSA releases new online Member Directory

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ATSSA recently unveiled a new and improved online Member Directory that is more user friendly and kept up-to-date with the latest information.

The online Member Directory is a member benefit and accessible to all member firms and their employees, to individual members and to public agencies. It offers the ability to search by Company Type, City, State, Division and Product Categories. 

The Membership Directory is compatible with any laptop, notebook, tablet or smartphone.

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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