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US Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Subject: INFORMATION: Eligibility of HSIP Funds for Safety Engineering Assistance to Locals
Date: July 16, 2006
From: Jeffrey A. Lindley, Associate Administrator for Safety - Washington, DC
Reply to Attn. of: HSA-20, HSA-30
To: Division Administrators
Local agencies own and operate over three quarters of the Nation’s public roadways. Over 60 percent of fatalities occur on rural roads (79 percent of which are owned by local agencies) even though they carry less then 40 percent of the VMT. In order to achieve meaningful safety results, we as a Nation need to improve safety on local roadways.
The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) works with local highway jurisdictions, providing technical assistance and training. Currently the LTAP Centers provide more than 4,000 training events to over 115,000 participants annually, and a number of Centers currently have safety programs. Last year, the FHWA Office of Safety identified an opportunity to support an expanded role for safety services through LTAP Centers by funding four “Safety Circuit Rider” positions at three LTAP Centers and one Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) Center, with assistance from Federal Lands. These positions provide assistance in advancing safety through training, technical support, and other activities that will reduce roadway fatalities and injuries. This program has been continued for the three LTAP Centers this year and some States are initiating their own programs.
The SAFETEA-LU emphasis on using a data-driven approach to improve safety on all public roads may lead States to conclude that expanding or beginning similar safety programs for local roads is an excellent strategy for improving safety statewide. Engineering services have always been eligible as part of a Federal-aid project under the broad Title 23 definitions of construction and project, and Section 112 of Title 23 allows the State to contract for these design/engineering services. Engineering assistance programs for local roads was an eligible expense under the previous HSIP program, and remains eligible under the new core HSIP program.
As your State moves forward in developing and implementing a Strategic Highway Safety Plan that identifies specific strategies to improve safety on all public roads, we encourage you to consider the suitability of providing part- or full-time safety assistance to local governments through your State’s LTAP Center or some other means. If your data points to engineering safety needs on local roadways, it will be important to assure those jurisdictions have adequate resources to assess and develop safety strategies and projects.
If you have any questions on the Safety Circuit Rider Program, or other ways to improve infrastructure safety on local roads, please contact Ms. Leslie Wright, manager of local road safety programs in the Office of Safety Programs at 202-366-2176 or Leslie.Wright@dot.gov.