White House Briefing on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook: Saftey (DOT)

March 8, 2022

 

Stephanie Sykes, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure Implementation

A few weeks ago, the White House released a guidebook for state and local governments as a resource for stakeholders and is intended as a roadmap, and it contains the most comprehensive information the White House has to date on the more than 375 programs in the bipartisan infrastructure law. President Biden and the entire team here have made it a priority to make sure that we’re giving all the resources that are needed to make sure that this money hits the ground and reaches all corners of this country. Over $100 billion has been announced, allocated, or headed to states Territories, and local governments. There’s been some key plans and offices that have also been announced. The White House has also announced some public notice periods and that covers a lot of different areas, including clean energy, electric vehicles that will be discussed today. high-speed internet grid modernization lead pipes and paint orphan wells, and most recently, a Great Lakes Restoration announcement.

Florence Chen, Associate Director, Infrastructure Implementation at the Department of Transportation

DOT has more than $660 billion divided over five years, across all modes of transportation. Some programs can fund the electrification of our transportation system to send an especially exciting opponent for law because it provides us with a unique offering. Integrate electrification, electric chargers, and electric vehicles. Not only into our federal infrastructure investments as soon as our vision, the future of the transportation system. Three programs will be highlighted that will promote safety across all modes of transportation. Safe Streets for All, Highway Safety Improvement Program, and the Railway-Highway Crossing Program.

Emily Schweninger, Senior Policy Advisor, White House

The new Safe Streets and Roads for All (discretionary) program supports the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, which was released in January. The strategy includes a goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways. The program will provide $5 billion in grants over the next five years, funding regional, local and tribal initiatives to grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. Some examples of projects and strategies that would be funded by this program could include improvements along an expanded multimodal network of reconfigured roads was separated bicycle lanes and improved safety features for pedestrian crossings, low-cost safety treatments which as rumble strips wider edge lines flashing beacons, and better signage along high crash corridors, and other topics related to speed and safety outreach. Award announcements are anticipated to be made by the end of 2022 or early 2023 with 40% for plans and 60% for implementation amounts will depend on many factors but can range from 1 million for an action plan or more in the million for implementation plans, projects, and strategies. Also, notable there is a legislative funding condition that no more than 15% of funds are made available to projects in any individual state.

Cheryl Walker, Associate Administrator for Safety, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The first program highlighted was the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) which is the Federal Highway Administrations for federal aid program whose purpose is to significantly reduce fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The funding for HSIP is more than $15 billion which will go to this critical safety program from 2002 to 2026. This five-year funding at $15.6 billion compared to what used to be $11.5 billion for the prior five years under the fat stack. So that was a 34% increase in HISP funding. HSIP is targeted towards infrastructure solutions, but States can now spend up to 10% of their HSIP funds on specified safety projects which are defined in the bill.

The second program highlighted was the Railway-Highway Crossing Program which has a $1.23 billon that will be dispersed over 5 years. This program is intended to eliminate hazards be used for the installation of protective devices that railway highway proxies and also be used for the replacement of functionally obsolete warning devices.

Ron Tharnel, Director of Government & External Affairs, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill authorizes $3.9 billion in formula grant funding to states over fiscal years 2022 to 2026. states use the highly flexible state authority Highway Safety Code to follow grants to implement data-driven programs based on their highway safety challenges which are the one point $1.99 billion programs. The section 1906 grant program aims to prevent racial profiling and traffic stops because equity is one of the administration’s top priorities. The program funds also support training and technical assistance, protection, first responders, and other road users and crashes. Congress and the White House highlighted a list of issues that include underride protection for semi-trailers, adaptive driving beam headlamps, automatic emergency braking, crash avoidance technology, advanced impaired driving technology, hot cars detection systems, and seatbelts on limousines.  These improvements are part of the Biden Harris administration’s efforts to improve safety on our nation’s roads will help fulfill requirements including the bipartisan infrastructure.

Jack Van Steenburg, Executive Director and Chief Safety Officer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSA regulates over 650,000 motor carriers and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance programs assure that those carriers are operating safely, and the drivers are safe in the equipment is safe. States complete about 3 million roadside inspections a year. they do about 4000 investigations here on carriers’ compliance reviews on carriers and the states do about 45,000 No-entrance safety audits on carriers. FMCSA has a congressional mandate to prioritize carriers that present high risk to the motoring public and for every new carrier that comes into the business, FMCSA does a safety what it within 12 months. The money will be implemented as soon as the appropriations get settled. The funding will allow states to update their IT systems to make it a lot easier for applicants to receive a CDL or eliminate wait times. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety operator training grant is a $3 million grant program this year and allows for community colleges and nonprofits to implement commercial vehicle driving training to potential students and there’s no cost to the students to become involved with this training.

Q&A:

Chen asked Schweninger if these funds strictly prioritize history, or will they be usable, high-risk conditions that are not produced recently recorded for that’d be a great year from Italy and also some bonds. Schweninger said that the Safe Streets and Roads for All programs support the National Railway safety strategy, which as I mentioned before, was recently adopted and is the department’s comprehensive approach to significantly reducing serious injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways, roads, and streets.

Chen asked if the requirement is that metropolitan planning organizations spend at least 1.5% of their bonds on safety and are there any activities where the employees continue to advance safety improvements that can be made. Walker said that it’s section 11206 of the bill requires that you a state must use at least 2.5% of their metropolitan planning funds to carry out transportation planning activities. related to complete streets or multimodal travel. Bill does give enough a definition of complete streets it talks about the fact that it’s like it’s a street that accommodates all users of the transportation system that includes all users.

Chen asked what measures were made when considering Complete Streets and Safe Streets for All, especially for vulnerable users. Emily said that adopting the safe systems approach as I said to address roadway safety, we recognize that it’s a paradigm shift. it differs significantly from the conventional safety approach by acknowledging both human mistakes and human vulnerability and designing a redundant system to protect everyone. Coordinate actions across multiple programs, and multiple areas to have this approach from a holistic perspective.

Chen asked will a state’s highway strategic plan timeframes and requirements change as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. Walker said that the SHSP or the Strategic Highway Safety Plan is a major component and is a requirement of the Highway Safety Improvement Program. The SHSP is required to be updated at least every five years and that is still the case.

Cheng asked what technical assistance or planning grants will be made available in addition to what has already been discussed. Steenburg said that with the funding increase FMSCA has started to reach out to states to see what they will need. Walker said that when a new program is announced FHWA will conduct a webinar to provide information and any answers to questions stakeholders may have.