Federal Rural Road Safety Funding Falls Short of Requests

Despite high rates of traffic deaths, rural communities lack the resources to address road safety issues.

1 minute read

January 10, 2024, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of wide street in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Street in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. | Kirk Fisher / Adobe Stock

Contrasting the urgency with which federal agencies investigate airplane incidents with our much more laissez-faire attitude toward car crashes, Claire Carlson, in an article in the Daily Yonder, notes that insufficient resources are allocated to improving safety on rural American roads.

About 25% of all pedestrian and cyclist deaths happen on rural highways, according to a 2010 report from the Highway Safety Information System. Speed limits on rural roads are generally higher than in cities, and most of them lack sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

Yet a $645 million allocation from the U.S. Department of Transportation in December 2023 paled in comparison to the $7.4 billion in applications and requests. “While road safety should be improved everywhere, rural roads are especially in need of attention, as the number of rural applicants to this program illustrates.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024 in The Daily Yonder

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