Buttigieg sends $5 billion to communities for road safety as traffic deaths rise.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden administration is directing $5 billion in federal funds to towns and communities to solve the rising crisis by slowing autos, cutting out bike paths and broader sidewalks, and encouraging commuters to use public transportation, according to upcoming data.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg revealed on Monday that funding for his department’s new Safe Streets & Roads for All initiative will be available over the next five years.

The goal is to provide a direct injection of federal funds to municipalities that vow to improve safety for all road users, including walkers and bikers.

The Transportation Department is anticipated to disclose statistics this week that shows another significant increase in road mortality in the United States through 2021, suggesting sustained unsafe driving that began with the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020. Pedestrian and cycling fatalities have been increasing at a quicker rate than car fatalities.

Deaths are also disproportionately higher among nonwhite, lower-income people, who are more likely to use public transportation and walk or bike, as well as those who live in tribal and rural regions, where speeding is more widespread.

“We are facing a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads,” Buttigieg said. “These tragedies are preventable, so as a nation, we must work immediately and collaboratively to save lives.” He stated that the funds “would assist large and small localities in taking action to protect all Americans on our highways.”

“We’ve grown accustomed to the loss of life and terrible injuries that occur on our roads,” says the author “he added.

Steven Cliff, the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said last week that the final figures would reveal “alarming” results “increases for the entire calendar year of 2021

Road deaths account for about 95 percent of all transportation deaths in the United States, with over 38,000 expected in 2020. According to data provided so far in 2021, traffic fatalities in the United States increased to 31,720 in the third quarter, the highest nine-month period since 2006. Before 2020, the number of road deaths in the United States has decreased for three years in a row.

The department’s efforts are part of a new national strategy, unveiled in January, aimed at reducing record increases in road fatalities through a “safe system” approach that encourages better road design, lower speed limits, and stricter car safety rules. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill includes $5 million to $6 million for the grants.

However, much of the federal roadmap relies on city and state collaboration, and it might take months, if not years, to fully implement with visible benefits – far too late to reassure 2022 midterm voters concerned about this and other pandemic-related evils like increased crime.

The latest U.S. guidance, released on Monday, encourages cities and towns to include safety plans in their bids for federal subsidies due later this year.

It cites projects that promise to transform a high-crash roadway, such as adding rumble strips to slow cars or installing speed cameras, which the department claims will provide more equitable enforcement than police traffic stops; flashing beacons for pedestrian crosswalks; new “safe routes” via sidewalks or other protected pathways to school or public transportation in underserved communities; and other “quick build” roadway changes designed with c

Buttigieg was scheduled to go to Germany later Monday for the International Transport Forum, where he would examine the best ways to meet a United Nations target of halving global road deaths by 2030. Every year, over 1.25 million people are killed on the roads around the world. Because of increasing rates of speeding and failure to use seatbelts in the United States, traffic deaths have risen during the pandemic despite fewer cars on the road.

Michael Kelley, policy director for the Kansas City, Missouri-based roadway safety advocacy group BikeWalkKC, says he’s been advocating for biking and walking routes because his two young daughters love to explore outside but can’t do so safely because their neighbourhood lacks sidewalks and is close to a highway.

Kelley, who is Black, believes that walkable neighbourhoods can help communities become more vibrant and connected by allowing the elderly, such as his parents, to “age in place” near a younger generation, such as his daughters, who increasingly “don’t want or need to drive” a car if other safe and affordable transportation options are available.

“Everyone ought to be able to walk, bike, or utilise public transportation as a safe and convenient option,” Kelley added.

Buttigieg emphasised the importance.

“I’m certain that we can use this pivot point, this critical and stressful moment,” he remarked. “We’re on a mission to finance whatever will have the greatest impact on reducing crashes and saving lives in this decade.”

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