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.
The funding would be directed to rural, locally owned roads, which often lack the critical safety infrastructure this legislation would help ensure is provided. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the fatality rate on rural roads is two times greater than on non-rural roads.
“ATSSA applauds Sens. Kelly and Burr on their leadership on rural and tribal road safety issues in the Senate,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “If we are going to achieve our long-term goal of zero fatalities, we must address safety challenges on all roads, including rural and tribal roads. ATSSA’s members are eager to work with the senators on reducing fatalities and serious injuries in rural America.”
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.
The rural road safety projects that this legislation focuses on are those that are eligible under HSIP.
“Arizona ATSSA members are thrilled that Sens. Kelly and Burr have introduced this legislation and are leading the Senate effort to address rural and tribal road safety challenges here in Arizona and across the country,” said Juan Arvizu of Pavement Marking Inc. in Tempe, Ariz., the immediate past chair of ATSSA’s Board of Directors. “As an industry, we’re marching toward zero deaths on U.S. roads and Sens. Kelly and Burr are leading that effort with us.”