The National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR) group released a report this week saying that consolidation of federal highway safety programs, continued guaranteed funding and no new sanctions are key safety-related actions Congress should take in the next surface transportation act reauthorization – known as TEA-21. NAGHSR members, who administer federal TEA-21 safety programs, gave TEA-21 a mixed review. According to John Moffat, the group’s chairman, increased funding has brought challenges for the states.
The large number of incentive grants has divided the federal safety program and over-emphasized occupant protection and impaired driving while not fully addressing other important safety problems, said Moffat. The excessive number of programs also places large administrative burdens on the states, he added.
“Although well-intentioned, there are just too many programs and too much process. Because of this, less time is being spent on planning, program implementation and evaluation,” Moffat said.
To address these and other challenges, NAGHSR has issued 10 main recommendations. One includes authorizing one large Section 402 state highway safety grant program rather than the fragmented program currently in place. That should alleviate the tremendous burden placed on the states in administering so many programs and will allow for a more balanced safety effort, said Moffat.
The group also wants to alter lobbying restrictions so that federally funded state employees may lobby their state legislatures on behalf of their own governor's highway safety legislation.