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ATSSA asks Buttigieg to delay new Buy America requirements

ATSSA president also asks for exemption of some temporary products

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner today sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg making three requests regarding changes to the Buy America requirements included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“In a recent survey of ATSSA members regarding the new Buy America requirements for federally-funded infrastructure projects, there is considerable concern about the impact that these new policies will have on roadway safety,” Tetschner wrote. “Knowing of your strong commitment to reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries on this nation’s roadways, it is important for you to consider the serious effect the new Buy America requirements will have not only on the roadway safety industry but the public as well.”

Tetschner also noted his concern regarding the "looming deadline" for implementation of the new Buy America requirements.

ATSSA releases Special Report on raw materials issue

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ATSSA today released a Special Report on the raw materials shortage, which found that nearly 92% of members who responded to a recent survey were experiencing a shortage and 90% expect the situation to continue for at least six more months.

The report, “ATSSA Raw Materials Update,” is the result of three member surveys, the most recent of which was conducted in April. The percentage of members impacted by the raw materials shortage has increased with each survey, going from 75% in the first survey in March 2021 to 88% in June 2021 and now above 90%.

“Each of the ATSSA surveys showed that raw materials shortages were having a major impact on members who are directly engaged in providing roadway safety infrastructure, which poses a nationwide safety risk because their work is designed to save lives on streets and highways across the country,” the report states in its conclusions.

3M raises more than $15k through Toward Zero Deaths pledge wall

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3M raised $15,279 this year for The ATSS Foundation through its Toward Zero Deaths pledge wall.

The fundraiser ran from Jan. 1 through the final day of ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

“As the new ATSS Foundation Chair, I can't express enough how grateful I am for support from companies like 3M that share the vision with us to help families that have experienced such horrific work zone tragedies,” said Kevin Shelton. “3M’s yearslong commitment to hosting the pledge wall is a testament to its compassion for the families that have lost a loved one or had one permanently disabled by a work zone incident. It is also a testament to 3M’s commitment to working toward the goal of zero deaths on the nation’s roadways.”

ATSSA reacts to USDOT release of National Roadway Safety Strategy

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The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) unveiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Thursday focuses on moving the U.S. towards zero roadway deaths by taking a safe systems approach that includes six central themes.

The themes laid out are that: deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable; human mistakes are inevitable; humans are vulnerable to injury and death; there is a shared responsibility for these incidents; safety can be and should be proactive; and redundancy is critical. The strategy introduced by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also focuses on five safety issues.

“ATSSA applauds Secretary Buttigieg on the release of the first National Roadway Safety Strategy, especially with its call for the enhanced protection of roadway construction workers," ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. "Shining a brighter spotlight on the need to dramatically reduce roadway fatalities is critically necessary.”

House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.

ATSSA asks DOTs for support during tightening of raw materials market

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to directors of state departments of transportation (DOTs) on behalf of the roadway safety infrastructure industry as it struggles with a tightening of the raw materials market.

“Currently, the availability of several key raw materials has tightened in the market from several factors including reduced production from COVID‐19 plant shutdowns and the extreme weather events in the Midwest/Texas in February,” Tetscher says in the letter. “This tightening of raw materials is impacting metals and petroleum‐based products used in the roadway safety industry, including aluminum, steel, plastic, and pavement marking and high friction surface treatment resins.”

He notes that the shrinking supply of these materials has a direct effect on the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

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.

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.”

ATSSA joins stakeholders in urging Biden to commit to zero fatalities by 2050

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ATSSA, along with more than 70 other organizations, sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday urging him to commit to reaching a goal of zero roadway fatalities by 2050.

“Reaching zero fatalities has been a longtime priority for ATSSA,” said Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. “Our advocacy work in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals around the country is consistently urging legislators to make progress towards that goal.”

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