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ATSSA endorses bipartisan Senate bill aimed at improving rural road safety

Senators Kelly and Burr just introduced the legislation on Capitol Hill

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (May 20, 2021) – Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) today introduced legislation known as the “High Risk Rural Roads Safety Act of 2021.” The bipartisan proposal would increase funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and create a $750 million HSIP set-aside directed solely for safety projects on high-risk rural roads, with $150 million of that directed to tribal lands.

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) endorsed the bill that would ensure safety becomes a priority for locally owned rural roads in order to address the significant safety challenges in rural America.

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.