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Use of the HSIP Flexible Funding Provision

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About the HSIP Noteworthy Practice Series

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is a core Federal-aid highway program with the primary purpose of achieving a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Many states and local agencies are successfully implementing innovative approaches to HSIP planning, implementation, and evaluation. The HSIP Noteworthy Practices Series presents case studies of these successful practices organized by specific HSIP topics. The individual case studies provide summaries of each practice, key accomplishments, results, and contact information for those interested in learning more.

Use of the HSIP Flexible Funding Provision

Highway safety funds should be spent where they will have the highest payoff in terms of saving lives and reducing serious injuries. Flexibility in the use of HSIP funds is an important tool in the delivery of an overall safety strategy.

The HSIP, codified by SAFETEA-LU as section 148 of Title 23 U.S.C., apportions funds to states under section 104(b)(5) for a range of eligible safety activities focused primarily on infrastructure-related safety improvements. Section 148(e) addresses the opportunity to use these financial resources where they can make the greatest impact, as identified in a state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). This provision allows a state department of transportation (DOT) to use up to 10 percent annually of its HSIP funds for other types of safety projects under Title 23, as long as the state meets certain conditions.

To be eligible to use the 10 percent flexibility provision in a fiscal year a state must have an approved SHSP, certify it has met its railway-highway grade crossing and infrastructure safety needs, and submit a written request to the state Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division Office.

FHWA has provided extensive guidance on the implementation of the flexibility provision, including details on the process to follow, implementation and project eligibility, financing, reporting, and subsequent fiscal year approvals. This information can be found at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/gen_info/.

A decision on whether to flex funds is something the state must decide based on its needs and circumstances. As with all HSIP projects, a guiding principle should be the potential to improve safety. Through collaboration with safety partners, the SHSP process identifies statewide emphasis areas with the greatest potential for reducing fatalities and serious injuries. Linking HSIP projects, including flex funded activities, with the SHSP ensures the HSIP addresses priorities identified through the broader statewide strategic approach.

States have used HSIP flex funds to support a range of enforcement and education strategies identified in the SHSP. Examples include overtime safety enforcement, ignition interlock programs, work zone safety messages, safe ride home programs to prevent impaired driving, and outreach programs on the use of car seats. Participation in the SHSP has also led states to multidisciplinary approaches to leverage resources, such as combining speed enforcement programs and infrastructure improvements for reducing roadway departure crashes.

Noteworthy Practices

The following cases demonstrate noteworthy practices several states are using to apply the HSIP flexible funding provision:

To access these full case studies, click on the individual links above or visit the FHWA Office of Safety on-line at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/.

<< Revisiting SHSP Emphasis Areas Table of Contents Highway Safety Improvement Program - Project Eligibility >>
Page last modified on June 17, 2011.
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