U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
US Department of Transportation
Subject: INFORMATION: Highway Safety Programs in SAFETEA-LU
Date: August 26, 2005
From: Jeffrey A. Lindley, Associate Administrator for Safety - Washington, DC
In Reply Refer To: HSA-30
To: Division Administrators
When President Bush signed into law the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) on August 10, a new era for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) safety program began. This new law establishes extensive new resources and opportunities to advance highway safety throughout the country in a comprehensive, strategic manner. We are very encouraged by the opportunity this legislation offers for saving lives and reducing injuries on our Nation's highways. This memorandum provides an overview of the safety provisions along with attachments outlining more detailed information.
Status of FY 2005 Safety Funds: First, it is important to point out that the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) remains funded for the remainder of FY 2005 as before SAFETEA-LU. Specifically, the funds available to each State for infrastructure-related highway safety improvements will be based on the 10percent set-aside of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to carry out previously existing Sections 130 (Railway-Highway crossings) and 152 (Hazard elimination program) activities. The FHWA Office of Budget and Finance will provide data on remaining FY 2005 distributions soon.
Core Safety Program: Beginning with FY 2006 funds, Subtitle D, Highway Safety, of SAEFTEA-LU elevates the HSIP to a stand-alone core Federal-aid highway safety program. It creates a positive agenda with a renewed call for data-driven, strategic highway safety programs focusing on results, and provides increased flexibility in State funding for safety. It expands the types of projects that can be defined as a highway safety improvement project by including noninfrastructure related activities such as safety conscious planning and selected public awareness, education, and enforcement activities. Higher funding levels are provided, with HSIP amounts increased from approximately $650 million annually under the previous 10 percent STP set-aside program to nearly $1.3 billion in FY 2009. The HSIP is structured and funded with the objective of making significant progress in reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries, and States can obligate funds for safety infrastructure improvement projects in a more proactive manner to advance highway safety strategies.
Strategic Highway Safety Plan: As part of the HSIP, State departments of transportation are to develop Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs), in consultation with other key State and local highway safety stakeholders. Developing an SHSP calls for a comprehensive, collaborative, and data driven approach to highway safety that brings together all appropriate safety stakeholders in the State to work together towards a common highway safety goal. An SHSP is to be based on accurate and timely safety information systems, processes to analyze this information to identify highway safety problems and opportunities, and planning and implementation of a comprehensive set of countermeasures.
Flexibility: States that adopt and implement an SHSP are provided additional flexibility to use HSIP funds for public awareness, education, and enforcement activities that are consistent with the SHSP. These activities would not otherwise have been eligible for funding, and transfer of funds is subject to certain restrictions and requirements.
High Risk Rural Roads and Railway-Highway Crossings: The new HSIP also requires that States address safety issues on High Risk Rural Roads and at Railway-Highway Crossings. The set-aside provision for High Risk Rural roads amounts to $90 million per year. These funds support safety improvements on roadways functionally classified as a rural major or minor collector or a rural local road, which have fatal and serious injury crash rates higher than the statewide average for those functional classes of roads. An additional $220 million per year is set aside for safety improvements to Railway-Highway Crossings.
Safe Routes to School: This new program is designed to enable and encourage primary and secondary school children to safely walk and bicycle to school. Both infrastructure-related and behavioral projects will be geared toward providing a safe, appealing environment for walking and biking. The authorized funding levels for the safe routes to school program are initiated at $54 million for FY 2005 and increase to $183 million in FY 2009.
Additional Information: For your additional information and use, we are attaching a set of initial guidance and explanatory materials. Special thanks are extended to members of the "Safety Reauthorization Guidance Team," whose dedicated efforts over the first 3 weeks of this month produced an outstanding set of initial materials and program analysis:
Also available at this time is the initial PowerPoint file outlining FHWA safety elements of SAFETEA-LU. This is not attached due to size limitations; and we will have this available through the Safety Exchange so that safety staff and others in FHWA can obtain it for appropriate use. These materials can be shared with your safety partners, as you desire. We also are actively reviewing an extensive initial set of "Questions and Answers" regarding safety topics in SAFETEA-LU prepared by the Team; we expect to disseminate this material soon and will advise you and your safety staff when it is available.
Additional information pertaining to the new core HSIP, especially including the SHSP requirements, and other safety programs in SAFETEA-LUwill be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. We believe that it is very important that all USDOT agencies that are stakeholders in the SHSP process have the opportunity to participate in the development of SHSP guidance, that we utilize a consistent set of guidance materials and processes during implementation, and that the multiple State-level recipients of safety funds receive a consistent set of information. To this end, we have initiated discussions with appropriate staff in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration. In addition, we expect that updates and modifications to the attached documents and development of additional materials will be occurring regularly; we plan to use the Safety Exchange, StaffNet, and/or the SAFETEA-LU section of the FHWA WebSite to post the most current set of implementation materials; and will advise you as these decisions are made.
Overall, SAFETEA-LU represents a significant step forward for the safety of our Nation's transportation network. We look forward to working with you and FHWA's partners to implement these important elements of this new legislation.
Section 1401 of SAFETEA-LU includes the program and policy language for implementing the new “core” Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which is codified as the new Section 148 of Title 23 of the United States Code (23USC148). Brief descriptions of the new program’s major features are included below.
SAFETEA-LU provides over $5.06 billion for HSIP over four years – FY’06 through FY’09. Funds for FY’05 are provided through the current STP Safety Set-Aside. This is a significant increase over TEA-21 funding that totaled $3.97 billion over 6 years. New HSIP apportionment formula includes a factor on the ratio of the number of fatalities on each State’s Federal-aid system to total fatalities and the ratios of lane miles and vehicle miles traveled to national totals on each State’s Federal-aid highways. All three factors are equally weighted.
In addition to the activities currently eligible under secs. 152 and 130, SAFETEA-LU provides eligibility for:
To obligate “core” safety funds a State must have in effect an HSIP under which the State:
Two major set-asides included in HSIP. They are:
$90 million per year for high-risk rural roads. There is a waiver for States who certify to the Secretary that they have met all of the State needs for construction and operational improvements on these roads.
$220 million per year for rail grade crossing safety (elimination of hazards and the installation of protective devices at railway-highway crossings). If a State has met all of its needs for protective devices at crossings, the Secretary may permit the State to use the set-aside funds for other Section 130 needs.
Railway-highway crossing formula
SAFETEA-LU includes a new formula to apportion rail safety funds – 50% based on STP formula and 50% on ratio of total public crossings in each state to total public crossings in all States.
SAFETEA-LU also requires the Secretary to publish information on 5% of the most hazardous locations in each state, including remedies, costs, and impediments to implementation of remedies, on the Department’s website
SAFETEA-LU requires biennial reports from Secretary to Congress on railway-highway crossing safety
The term ‘highway safety improvement program’ means the program carried out under this section