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ATSSA joins groups petitioning Bhatt to rescind IIJA policy memo

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ATSSA joined 17 organizations today in asking Federal Highway Administration Administrator Shailen Bhatt to rescind the “Policy on Using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Resources to Build a Better America” memorandum that was issued Dec. 16, 2021.

The groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted they supported the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in November 2021 and that it was a “carefully negotiated and balanced package of policy reforms and targeted national investments” to make the lives of Americans better.

The issue leading to the request for the policy to be rescinded was that the Dec. 16 memo “elicited significant confusion within the transportation community.” Further, the letter states that the memo was “intended to serve as an overarching policy framework that prioritizes IIJA resources towards certain projects, which was inconsistent with what was laid out under the legislation President Biden signed into law the month before.”

ATSSA congratulates Graves on being named chair of T&I Committee

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ATSSA congratulates Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) on being chosen to chair the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in the 118th Congress.

“ATSSA members have counted Chairman Graves as a roadway safety leader throughout his tenure on the T&I Committee and we look forward to his continued emphasis on this critical issue now that he is chair,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “We are eager to work with him and his committee staff in the months and years ahead to ensure that roadway safety remains the top priority for Congress and the Biden administration.”

Graves’ selection was announced by the committee today. He confirmed his priority for roadway safety and infrastructure in his comments included with the announcement.

ATSSA congratulates Bhatt on FHWA confirmation

Transportation veteran confirmed as FHWA leader

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Shailen Bhatt, who led state transportation departments in Colorado and Delaware, was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Bhatt’s confirmation by the full Senate on Thursday follows bipartisan support on Nov. 29 by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

As head of the FHWA, Bhatt will oversee implementation of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) passed into law in November 2021.

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.

ATSSA’s president will be interviewed Friday on Road Dog News

Stacy Tetschner to discuss roadway safety issues at 2 p.m. ET on SiriusXM

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Tune in to Road Dog News at 2 p.m. ET on Friday to hear ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner.

Tetschner will be discussing roadway safety issues on the Road Dog Trucking radio station.

The program airs on SiriusXM Channel 146. Road Dog News is hosted by Dan Ronan. Ronan is an associate news editor for Transport Topics as well as a part-time news anchor for Road Dog News.

TRIP report analyzes causes of traffic fatality spike and solutions

ATSSA Board Chair Johnson emphasizes collaboration to address trend

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Traffic fatalities in the U.S. rose 19% from 2019-2021, far surpassing U.S. vehicle travel for that period, according to a report released this morning by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit.

The report, Addressing America’s Traffic Safety Crisis: Examining the Causes of Increasing U.S. Traffic Fatalities and Identifying Solutions to Improve Road User Safety,” takes a closer look at data from the past two years.

“America faces a roadway safety crisis, with motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists fatalities in 2021 reaching their highest level in nearly two decades. The tremendous toll of fatalities and serious injuries that occur on the nation’s roadways are a significant economic and, more critically, personal burden on Americans,” the report notes in its conclusion. “The causes of the recent surge in traffic fatalities in the U.S. appear largely to be the result of the public taking greater risks on the nation’s roadways, including speeding, impaired driving and reduced safety belt use.”

ATSSA members advocating for roadway safety on Capitol Hill today

Legislative Briefing & Fly-In returns to nation’s capital after two virtual events

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ATSSA members from across the country are meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill today, carrying their insights and priorities for roadway safety directly to lawmakers.

Sixty meetings are scheduled with members of the Senate, the House of Representatives and their legislative teams. The goal is to fuel the future of roadway safety by carrying their message directly to the nation’s decision makers.

ATSSA’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In returned to Washington, D.C., this week after two years as a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 50 people representing 17 states and the District of Columbia registered to attend the event, which is a benefit of ATSSA membership.

ATSSA Board Member Cindy Williams testifies before Congress

Williams participates in hearing to address the rise in roadway fatalities

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Today, Cindy Williams, president of Time Striping, president of the Arkansas ATSSA Chapter, and a member of the ATSSA Board of Directors, testified before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

The hearing, entitled “Addressing the Roadway Safety Crisis: Building Safer Roads for All,” focused on the recently released 2021 traffic fatality statistics, and countermeasures that can combat that increase.

“The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is a critical component to achieving the goal of Towards Zero Deaths,” Williams said in her testimony. “Having a dedicated funding stream for roadway safety has been critical to addressing safety needs and continuing this program was a bipartisan priority for Congress and ATSSA.”

Discussion during the hearing also focused on rural road safety, something Williams said she understands well from her experience in Arkansas.

Traffic fatalities rose an estimated 10.5% in 2021, reach 16-year high, NHTSA reports

Trend in fatality rate for vehicle miles traveled decreased for three quarters of 2021

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Traffic fatalities across the U.S. rose 10.5% in 2021 to a projected 42,915 deaths, reaching a 16-year high, according to statistics released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

That projected increase from 38,824 fatalities in 2020 is “the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history,” NHTSA announced today.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner expressed concern over the record-breaking fatality rate.

“ATSSA’s members have devoted their lives to roadway safety and providing the infrastructure and technology needed to save the lives of the motoring public as well as men and women working on our roadways,” Tetschner said. “This unprecedented increase in traffic fatalities brings home the importance of our work and the necessity of government and private industry partnering to provide safe thoroughfares. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was enacted into law in November, provides historic levels of federal funding for roadway safety infrastructure projects. Departments of transportation around the country, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, must prioritize getting these funds to critical, lifesaving safety projects as soon as possible. We know that safer roads save lives. ATSSA members are ready to go to work with their agency partners to move toward zero deaths on all roads.”

ATSSA Town Hall breaks down IIJA funding, timing

‘Gas tax holidays’ raise concerns, not expected at federal level

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Five months after the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law, it’s understandable ATSSA members could be wondering when the money will begin flowing to projects across the country.

That was one of the key discussion points today during an ATSSA Town Hall on the “Economic Impact of the Infrastructure Package on ATSSA Member Companies.”

ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and Kathy Ruffalo, president of consulting firm Ruffalo & Associates, reviewed the funds expected through different programs, the steps to get them accessible and when the first money can be expected.

Smith also talked about the gas tax holiday proposals across the country and ATSSA's efforts against them.

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