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August 21, 2020 1:00 PM, EDT

FMCSA Awards $80 Million to States’ Motor Vehicle Safety Efforts

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Nearly $80 million was awarded to educational entities and state agencies for commercial motor vehicle safety efforts, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced this month.

Specifically, $45 million in grants would be dedicated for state-level programs meant to enhance highway safety and advance technological capabilities across agencies. The grants prioritize assistance to commercial vehicle safety initiatives.

Recipients include the Puerto Rico Public Service Commission, the University of Alabama and the Kentucky State Police, as well as the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol.

Additionally, $32.7 million in commercial driver license program implementation grants would be dedicated for state agencies. The grants offer financial assistance to entities able to execute national projects that assist states with compliance efforts.

Recipients include the University of Cincinnati, the Vermont Agency of Transportation-Department of Motor Vehicles and the Washington State Department of Licensing, as well as the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

And $2 million in commercial motor vehicle operator safety training grants would be dedicated for 20 educational institutions around the country to train veterans for careers in commercial bus and truck operations. The grants prioritize accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, and state and local government agencies, according to FMCSA.

Recipients include the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and the York County School of Technology in Pennsylvania, Tidewater Community College in Virginia, the Truck Driver Institute Inc. in Tennessee, the Truck Driver Institute of Florida Inc., and Wor-Wic Community College in Maryland.

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“These awards of nearly $80 million represent the highest funding level for these critical safety grants to enhance commercial motor vehicle and road safety,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement accompanying the announcement on Aug. 19.

“This critical funding will support FMCSA’s state and local safety partners, and illustrates the Trump administration’s commitment to reducing crashes and improving safety on America’s roadways,” added outgoing FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen, in a statement. “These funds will go directly to where they are needed the most — our states, local communities and educational institutions.”

According to the agency, grant recipients from states and local governments typically “work in conjunction with for-profit and nonprofit organizations including public and private institutions of higher education, businesses and independent contractor consultants.”

Grants are primarily available to state and local agencies around the country, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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This year, the U.S. House approved a fiscal 2021 transportation funding bill that would provide FMCSA $881 million for its operations. The proposed funding allocation would be a $202 million increase from the fiscal 2020-enacted level, and $179 million more than the president’s request.

The bill “represents a forward-looking vision to rebuild our nation and strengthen our communities,” said U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) in July.

According to a report accompanying the House legislation, safety grants “are used to support compliance reviews in the states, identify and apprehend traffic violators, conduct roadside inspections and conduct safety audits of new entrant carriers.

Lowey

Lowey

Additionally, grants are provided to states for improvement of state commercial driver’s license oversight activities.

Lowey added, “Together, we can revitalize our infrastructure, modernize our transportation systems, protect the traveling public, expand access to safe, affordable housing, and support our most vulnerable neighbors.”

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