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USDOT offering webinar on applying for SMART Grants

Register now for Sept. 29 webinar; applications due Nov. 18

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will hold a Sept. 29 webinar to assist individuals interested in applying for a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant.

Registration is now open for the webinar, which runs from 2:30-4 p.m. ET.

The grants were authorized as part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) approved in November. The new grant program offers up to $100 million annually over the next five years. The grants would fund transportation projects that “use data and technology to solve real-world challenges facing communities today,” according to the USDOT announcement.

The SMART Grants Program does not require other funding such as matching or cost sharing, according to USDOT.

Become familiar with ‘scope of work’ and indemnity in contract agreements

Understanding those terms can limit liability

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Subcontractors may be unaware they can review and negotiate subcontracts before signing them.

Negotiating can be as simple as "red lining" words to delete from the document or adding words or sentences.

Two important items that should be thoroughly reviewed before signing any subcontract agreement are the “scope of work” and “indemnification” clauses. The scope of work should be clearly defined and is usually one of the first paragraphs of the subcontract. 

Indemnity is a contractual obligation of one party to compensate for the loss incurred by another party due to the acts of a third party or one's own actions.

Truck-mounted attenuators: Preferred wheel direction for optimum safety

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At the most recent ATSSA Instructors’ Meeting in Providence, R.I., a question was asked about the proper orientation of the front wheels of a truck-mounted attenuator (TMA), a key issue for roadway safety.

TMAs are trucks equipped with energy-absorbing attenuators, to provide physical protection for roadway workers from traffic approaching from the rear.

A common myth is that the wheels should be angled to prevent the TMA from being pushed into workers in case of an impact. This is not the preferred method and not what ATSSA teaches.

Instead, the preferred method is to point the wheels straight ahead (not turned left or right) and allow for the TMA’s roll-ahead distance.

Comments due Sept. 19 on proposed rulemaking for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program

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ATSSA members interested in providing comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program have one week to submit them.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) NPRM was posted in the Federal Register on July 21.  Comments are due by next Monday.

The full text of the NPRM covers 66 pages of the Federal Register. USDOT created a summary and ATSSA assembled a list of key changes.

Apply by Sept. 15 for FY22 Safe Streets and Roads for All grants

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The deadline for submitting Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant applications is Sept. 15. 

Groups eligible to apply for the grants include metropolitan planning organizations; counties, cities, towns, transit agencies or special districts within a state; federally recognized tribal governments; and multijurisdictional groups comprised of these groups.

Activities that are eligible include developing or updating a comprehensive safety action plan; conducting planning, design and development activities in support of an action plan; and carrying out projects and strategies identified in an action plan. A list of example activities is available.

‘Creating a Safety Culture’ webinar set for Sept. 13

Gain tips for getting everyone on board with workplace safety

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Avoiding workplace injuries isn’t just good for your team, it’s good for the bottom line. But how do you get everyone—at every level—enthused and attentive to the task?

Join ATSSA’s free webinar on “Creating a Safety Culture” on Sept. 13 to gain insights for implementing a culture shift. Speaker Alex Kelly, CEO of SALT and Company, will discuss how to blend industry best practices and behavioral psychology to support behavior change. Prior to starting SALT, Kelly directed Canada’s first Vision Zero Advocate Institute, which is dedicated to supporting municipalities and businesses in the adoption of evidence-based road safety programming.

Registration is now open for this safety culture strategy session.

This is the fourth of five Worker Safety Webinars hosted by ATSSA’s Training Department and the Roadway Worker Protection Council.

FHWA hosting webinar on pavement marking retroreflectivity final rule

Advance registration required for the free Sept. 1 event

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is hosting a webinar on “Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity” to discuss the final rule published in the Federal Register on Aug. 5.

The Sept. 1 webinar starts at 12:30 p.m. ET, is free for the public but requires advance registration.

Organizers said the final rule published on Aug. 5 amends the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), adding provisions for minimum maintained levels of pavement marking retroreflectivity in Revision 3 of the 2009 MUTCD.

Limit your risk in contracts with help from new ATSSA group

Register now for Nov. 8 webinar on ‘Leveling the playing field’

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The overreaching contractual obligation to assume responsibility for another party beyond the extent of your own negligence or willful misconduct is unreasonable and a clear and present danger to the roadway safety infrastructure industry.  

Michael Capell of Brown & Brown recently listened while an ATSSA member shared an experience, recounting the unsettling details of a lawsuit that altogether changed his approach to every project.  For this member, had it not been for a negotiated settlement in exchange for a full release, a jury award would have easily exceeded the company’s available limits of liability insurance and forced a sell-off of corporate assets. The hard-to-swallow reality of the matter was that his involvement was simply a consequence of a far-reaching contractual obligation. 

The business survived, with the experience serving as an endless reminder to never again roll over for blanket contractual risk shifting. This member now fires back, many times successfully negotiating a narrowed responsibility that is fairly and appropriately aligned with his company’s presence on a project, something previously thought unachievable.

These circumstances are all too familiar and place high priority for the continued drive for awareness and education of the issues, contract review protocols and a push for legislative changes.

A new group of ATSSA members and volunteers has formed to assist members and will be presenting a webinar on Nov. 8 and a panel at the 2023 Convention & Traffic Expo in Phoenix.

Midyear Meeting starts Tuesday in Rhode Island

General session will address ongoing supply chain challenges

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ATSSA’s Midyear Meeting kicks off on Tuesday, launching the annual collaboration of industry insiders gathered to address the latest innovations and challenges in the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

This year’s event takes place in Providence, R.I., where Wednesday’s agenda includes a panel discussion on workforce, materials and supply chain issues.

“Construction and transportation industry challenges – potholes on the industry highway” will be moderated by ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. Panelists include Kate Fox Wood, senior director of government relations with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Jonathan Starks of FTR, who is a longtime member of the freight industry, and Sterling Wiggins with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The 1-hour session starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and will focus on the state of affairs across the construction and transportation industries and what the path forward may look like.

ATSSA supports Bhatt’s nomination for FHWA administrator

Statement notes history of expertise and passion for transportation safety

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On behalf of ATSSA,  President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter to Chair Tom Carper and Ranking Member Shelley Capito of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works strongly supporting the presidential nomination of the Honorable Shailen Bhatt to serve as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
 
“Mr. Bhatt has demonstrated a long history of expertise, passion and dedication to the transportation safety community. He has highlighted these qualities throughout his career in the transportation sector, and we are excited by his nomination,” Tetschner stated in his letter. “Mr. Bhatt’s commitment to the safety of the traveling public is unquestionable, and he will be a dynamic leader of the FHWA as they continue their work on advancing roadway safety.”

 

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