Opening remarks, as prepared, of U.S. Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL) from today’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit hearing entitled, “Every Life Counts: Improving the Safety of our Nation’s Roadways”:
Thank you, Chairwoman Norton. I want to welcome everyone to today’s hearing.
The current federal surface transportation law, the FAST Act, expires on September 30, 2020. Last month, this subcommittee held a hearing to kick off its process to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs. Today’s hearing builds on that and is focused on how Congress can improve the safety of the Nation’s roads.
In 2017, 37,133 fatalities occurred on our Nation’s highways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While this is a 1.8 percent decrease from 2016, more can be done to further reduce highway fatalities.
The federal surface transportation safety programs are administered by different modal administrations within the Department of Transportation. These programs provide non-federal partners with resources to improve the safety of the Nation’s surface transportation system.
Today’s hearing focuses on the safety programs administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These programs require states to have a data-driven, performance-based approach to address their unique highway safety challenges.
As we continue with our reauthorization process, it is important that we gather feedback on how well these programs are working and what other policy and programmatic changes the Committee should consider.
With that, I want to thank our witnesses for being with us this morning, and I look forward to hearing their testimony on this very important topic.