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FHWA adds Thursday webinar on MUTCD Notice of Proposed Amendments

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has scheduled an additional webinar on the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for Thursday.

This final webinar starts at 2 p.m. EDT. Registration is now open for the session, which will provide an overview of the MUTCD process and highlights of some proposed changes. FHWA indicated local jurisdictions will be especially interested in this webinar. 

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

MUTCD discussions scheduled for ATSSA’s Convention & Traffic Expo

Take part in chats on nine topics Feb. 16-18

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Join the discussion on various aspects of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) during week two of ATSSA’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

The discussions are hosted by ATSSA and take place within the Conversation Lounge of the Convention’s online platform. Check out the topics you want to be part of and join the conversation. Participation is free for everyone registered for the Convention.

Sessions run Tuesday through Thursday next week and cover nine topics.

FHWA issues letter to clarify eligibility process for cable barrier systems

Letter from the Office of Safety relates to the 2nd edition of MASH

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a letter clarifying the process to obtain an eligibility letter for cable barrier systems.

The “open letter” from Michael S. Griffith, director of the Office of Safety Technologies in the Office of Safety, is addressed to members of the “highway safety hardware and roadside design community.”

He notes that the FHWA received questions about the eligibility letter over the past several months.

AASHTO and FHWA issue clarifications on implementing MASH 2016

Q and A released for issues raised since May 2018

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Information is now available that clarifies issues related to implementing the 2016 edition of the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH).

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) publishes MASH and issued the latest updates in a Question-and-Answer format. The latest information is the result of work produced by a joint technical working group of people from state departments of transportation (DOTs), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and accredited crash testing labs, according to a statement included in the release.

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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