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Images capture NWZAW efforts from individuals to public officials working to save lives

Messages across the nation encourage everyone to do their part for work zone safety

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Across the country, individuals, ATSSA members, public officials, government agencies, major corporations and at least one university pitched in for National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) to spread the word about the importance of safety in and around roadway work zones.

This year’s NWZAW theme was: Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives. People took a personal approach, used statistics, employed billboards, aired videos and posted to social media all in an effort to heighten awareness of the risks to motorists, their passengers and workers in roadway work zones.

Here are some of the images from efforts across the country for this annual public awareness campaign.

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.

Trottenberg confirmed as deputy secretary of transportation

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The Senate today confirmed Polly Tottenberg as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Trottenberg previously served as New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner, and prior to that, was Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy during the Obama Administration.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner congratulated Trottenberg on her confirmation.

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.

Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation

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The Senate today confirmed former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation, adding him to the cabinet of President Joe Biden.

Buttigieg campaigned on the need for transportation and infrastructure investment throughout his bid to become the Democrats’ nominee for president. During his hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee last month, he touched on the need for shoring up revenue for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), increased investment in tribal and rural roads, the future of autonomous vehicles and the need for safety to be at the forefront of any new transportation or infrastructure initiative.

The Senate Commerce Committee forwarded his nomination to the full Senate on Wednesday by a 21-3 vote.

The full Senate confirmed Buttigieg’s nomination by a vote of 86-13.

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