Biden-Harris Administration Announces $72.7 Million for Texas to Improve Roads at the Local Level and Tackle National Traffic Fatalities
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding targets high-crash sites in cities and counties; also supports the U.S. Department of Transportation’s comprehensive strategy to reduce roadway deaths, a crisis claiming more than 40,000 lives each year
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a historic $800 million in grant awards for 510 projects through the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program, including 28 grants for communities in Texas. The competitive grant program, established by President Biden’s historic infrastructure law, provides $5 billion over five years for regional, local, and Tribal initiatives — from redesigned roads to better sidewalks and crosswalks — to prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roadways. The Department also launched a data utilization tool that shows crash hotspots that can help target needed resources.
The SS4A awards fund improved safety planning for over half the nation’s population, and will fundamentally change how roadway safety is addressed in communities through local and regional efforts that are comprehensive and data-driven. This investment comes at an important junction as traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high in 2021 and preliminary data indicates will remain near those levels in 2022, even getting worse for people walking, biking, or rolling as well as incidents involving trucks. In addition, traffic crashes are costly to American society. A new report shows the economic impact of traffic crashes was $340 billion in 2019 alone.
“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.”
The Safe Streets and Roads for All program grants being announced today support the Department’s vision of zero roadway deaths and its National Roadway Safety Strategy: a comprehensive approach launched in January 2022 to make our nation’s roadways safer for everyone, including drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and emergency and construction workers by stressing responsible driving, safer roadway designs, appropriate speed-limit setting, and improved post-crash care, among other strategies.
As part of SS4A, the Department is awarding grants for both planning and implementation projects. Action plan grants assist communities that do not currently have a roadway safety plan in place to reduce roadway fatalities, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive set of actions. Implementation grants provide funding for communities to implement strategies and projects that will reduce or eliminate transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries.
Texas received three awards for implementation projects in this first round of the program:
- $28.7 million for Bissonnet Corridor Safe Streets Project (Houston, TX): The City of Houston will use these funds to address unsafe crossing locations, as well as confusing and complicated intersections. Project components include enhanced crosswalks, rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, pedestrian hybrid beacons, lighting, and pedestrian refuge islands to address pedestrian safety problems. It also creates dedicated turn lanes at intersections and roundabouts, improves corridor access, and creates bicycle facilities through a road diet.
- $22.8 million for Safe and Equitable Mobility for Austin (Austin, TX): The City of Austin will use this award to address multiple roadway safety issues, especially for pedestrians. Project components include major intersection geometric improvements (e.g., roundabouts), a citywide lighting study, and systemic safety improvements such as addressing sidewalk gaps, installing ADA ramps and traffic signal backplates, and adding audible pedestrian signals. Supplemental planning to invest in video analytics is also included
- $4.4 million for Zarzamora Street Mid-Block Crossings & High-Injury Network Safety Campaigns (San Antonio, TX): The City of San Antonio will use this award to install 8 mid-block crossings with pedestrian refuge islands and pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHBs) in the City’s historically underserved Westside. Project components will include lighting, signing, vegetation and tree canopy, and high-visibility crosswalk markings.
The Department is also awarding 25 action planning grants to help improve roadway safety in Texas. The applicants receiving awards are:
The full list of awards can be viewed HERE. The next funding opportunity of $1.1 billion is expected to be released in April of this year.
In addition to SS4A grants, tomorrow the Federal Highways Administration will award a total of $21 million to 70 Tribes to improve road safety on Tribal lands, addressing issues such as roadway departures and the need for better pedestrian crossings.
For more information about SS4A, including additional resources and information for interested applicants and stakeholders, click HERE.
To read more about the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, including the Safe Systems Approach, click HERE.