by Scott McClallen
The city of Detroit will receive $24.8 million to redesign existing transportation infrastructure in high crash areas to reduce traffic fatalities.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the money is part of $800 million in grant awards for 510 projects through the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program.
The competitive grant program, established by Pres. Biden’s 2021 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. A data visualization tool also shows crash hotspots.
The grants follow traffic fatalities reaching a 16-year high in 2021. A new report shows the economic impact of traffic crashes was $340 billion in 2019 alone.
According to the USDOT’s National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, those figures are a 5% increase over previous years for vehicle occupants involved in crashes. Motorcycle fatalities were up 9%, and fatal accidents involving bicyclists increased 5% as well. Police-reported alcohol-related accidents increased 9%, and accidents involving unrestrained occupants of passenger vehicles increased 15%.
“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,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “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 aim to reduce the number of roadway deaths. 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.
The Department is awarding 473 action plan grants and 37 grants for implementation projects in this first round of the program.
The full list of awards can be viewed here. The next funding opportunity of $1.1 billion is expected to be released in April.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Detroit, Michigan” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.