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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2014

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942, x140
After Hours: Jonathan Adkins, 202-669-9746 (cell)

GHSA Supports Broad Goals of Administration’s Transportation Proposal

Statement for attribution to Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Chairman Kendell Poole

WASHINGTON, D.C.—GHSA is very pleased that the Obama Administration has submitted legislation to reauthorize the current transportation law known as MAP-21. The legislation sends a clear signal that the Administration is serious about addressing the Highway Trust Fund shortfall and providing some needed consistency for states.

While GHSA continues to review the legislation, there are a few aspects that have immediately drawn the organization’s attention. GHSA appreciates that the legislation removes some administrative burdens states face, such as the Maintenance of Effort requirement, under MAP-21. We are also grateful that research programs can now be funded with all federal funds. This needed flexibility is very welcome by the states.

The Association appreciates the stability in highway safety funding but would like to see the funding levels reversed for Sections 402 and 405. Section 402 is known as the “building block” of highway safety and should receive the bulk of funding. States spend this funding on a host of data-driven projects that touch a wide spectrum of highway safety issues, so it is critical to have as much funding as possible in this program.

GHSA also appreciates that the Administration recognizes that the distracted driving, ignition interlock and teen driving incentives in Section 405 have not worked as intended and should be restructured. However, the new language is still very prescriptive and, in some cases, convoluted. GHSA supports incentives that are clear and encourage states to takes steps that have been scientifically-proven to positively impact driver behavior.

We are troubled by the call for prescriptive pedestrian and bicycle program spending. Like the Administration, GHSA wants to ensure the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. In fact, effective this July, states will now include a bicycle performance measure in their annual state highway safety plans. We are, however, surprised that the Administration wants to require states to spend portions of certain funding on pedestrian and bicycle programs. These requirements go against the long-standing and very successful performance-based approach to state highway safety programs. States should continue to be encouraged to fund programs based on their fatality data and research and not be burdened by additional inflexible requirements. GHSA is very concerned that this would set a dangerous precedent.

We thank the Administration for this important first step in process of reauthorization. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to craft a workable law.

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About GHSA®:
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.