The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $72.7 million to 28 cities, counties, tribes and planning organizations throughout Texas. The funds will be used to create and implement plans to increase roadway safety and prevent fatal accidents.

The DOT announced that $800 million will go to 510 projects in 49 states and Puerto Rico through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program. The program was created under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

According to a news release, $5 billion will be allocated to local, regional and tribal organizations over five years. The SS4A program is part of the DOT’s long-term goal of zero deaths or serious injuries on roadways across the nation.

Nearly 43,000 people died throughout the country in traffic crashes in 2021, the department reported. This was a 10.5% increase from 2020 and the highest number of annual deaths since 2005.

“Preliminary data indicates [fatalities] will remain near those levels in 2022, even getting worse for people walking, biking, or rolling as well as incidents involving trucks,” according to the DOT.

Two types of grants are awarded through the SS4A program: action plan grants and implementation grants. Communities can use action plan grants to create and update roadway safety plans, including goal-setting, safety analysis, public engagement and policymaking. Implementation grants help communities put their existing action plans into place through infrastructure and safety strategies, the release said.

Three Texas cities were awarded implementation grants:
  • The city of Houston received $28.7 million for the Bissonnet Corridor Safe Streets Project. The city will use the funds to address unsafe road crossings and improve confusing intersections through enhanced crosswalks, lighting, bike lanes and dedicated turn lanes;
  • The city of Austin received $22.8 million for the Safe and Equitable Mobility for Austin project. The city will use the funds to promote pedestrian and overall roadway safety through a citywide lighting study; improvements to sidewalks and traffic signals; and changes to some major intersections; and
  • The city of San Antonio received $4.4 million for the Zarzamora Street Mid-Block Crossings & High-Injury Network Safety Campaigns. The city will use the funds to improve pedestrian safety in the Westside neighborhood through lighting, signage, high-visibility crosswalks and more.
Action plan grants were awarded to 25 Texas communities, including:
  • Bexar County;
  • The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization;
  • The Central Texas Council of Governments;
  • The city of Fort Worth;
  • Houston’s East End District;
  • The Houston-Galveston Area Council; and
  • Travis County.
“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the release. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.”

Applications for the second round of program funding will be available in April, according to the DOT. The full list of awards from the first round is available here.

In December, the Texas Department of Transportation announced that $250 million would be used for pedestrian and cyclist safety initiatives throughout the state. That program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration, which is a division of the DOT.