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U.S. Department of Transportation sent this bulletin at 04/07/2023 01:21 PM EDT

Good afternoon,

This week, we were pleased to be in New Mexico to launch the first-ever Wildlife Crossings grant program to help prevent vehicle collisions, discuss roadway safety with some real-life heroes, meet with university students and elected leaders, and announce new grants to reduce methane emissions from natural gas distribution lines. The boss also met Bernalillo County Fire and Rescue’s emotional support pup Taco, who promptly gave him a hug.

Sharing below a roundup of the latest activities and opportunities to engage with DOT and the Biden Administration. Thanks as always for your interest – if you know others who would like to receive these updates, please direct them to sign up here.      

Secretary Visits New Mexico, Heralds Infrastructure Awards and New Funding Opportunities

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the New Mexico cities of Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Deming to highlight the safety investments the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is making in communities across the country to reduce traffic fatalities, and to demonstrate that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in communities that have previously been left behind.

DOT Launches New Program to Improve Roadway Safety by Preventing Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

On Tuesday, the Secretary announced that DOT is taking the unprecedented step of dedicating funding for wildlife crossing projects that will make our roads safer – making a total of $350 million available over five years through the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program, including more than $111 million in grants in the first round of funding to be awarded this year. The program, created through the BIL, makes grant funding available to states and communities to construct wildlife crossings over or below busy roads, add warning signs for drivers, acquire mapping and tracking tools, and more. Wildlife vehicle collisions are a clear safety issue, especially in rural areas. Each year in the U.S., roughly 200 people are killed – and many more are injured – in more than one million collisions involving wildlife and vehicles.


Coinciding with the announcement, the Secretary toured a site on Santa Ana Pueblo where a project to help reduce collisions with large animals is underway – including a culvert that elk, deer, cougars and other wild animals have been using to get across the highway. The tribe has performed GPS mapping for over a decade to figure out where animals are, and are not, likely to cross, and the benefits of wildlife corridors, like reducing collisions and connecting habitats. Secretary Buttigieg spoke about the new federal Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program  with tribal leaders, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, Congresswoman Representative Melanie Stansbury, and Jeremy Romero from the National Wildlife Federation.

The Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) provides additional information – applications are due by August 1, 2023. Eligible applicants include state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local governments, tribes, regional transportation authorities, special purpose districts, public authorities with a transportation function, and federal land management agencies (FLMAs) that are proposing projects to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions and improve habitat connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic species.

New SS4A and UTC Funding Awards Spur Actions to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths in New Mexico

Later on Tuesday, the Secretary toured an area along Coors Boulevard in the South Valley where several pedestrians have been killed and many others injured in traffic crashes in recent years. Albuquerque specifically and New Mexico more broadly suffer from some of the nation’s highest pedestrian fatality rates. Through DOT’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program, Bernalillo County was recently awarded $6.3 million for the Coors Boulevard Pedestrian Safety Project, which will implement infrastructure safety countermeasures along nearly 2 miles of Coors Boulevard in the South Valley, including reducing lane widths, lowering speed limits, installing protected bike lanes and sidewalks, and improving crosswalks.

In addition, the University of New Mexico (UNM) recently was awarded a $10 million USDOT University Transportation Center (UTC) grant to establish a new Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety at the University. After the tour, the Secretary held a roundtable discussion at a the Bernalillo County Fire and Rescue about the impact of roadway fatalities and how to prevent them with U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, first responders, local educators, transportation planning experts, and community leaders.  

Secretary Announces Historic Funding to Improve Safety, Fix Old, Leaky Gas Pipes and Create Jobs

On Wednesday, Secretary Buttigieg visited the City of Deming and held a press conference where he announced a historic $196 million in grants for 37 projects spread across 19 states – including a $10 million award to the City of Las Cruces – to help improve public safety, protect public health, and reduce methane emissions from natural gas distribution pipes. Secretary Buttigieg was joined at the event by Mayor Benny Jasso, City of Deming, California Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – CHC), Congressman Gabe Vasquez, and Senator Ben Ray Lujan. The Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization (NGDISM) grant program, established by the BIL, and administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), provides nearly $1 billion in funding over five years to modernize municipally and community-owned natural gas distribution pipes, helping to keep communities across the country safe from pipeline leaks.

These grants are projected to create hundreds of jobs in rural and urban communities around the U.S. Grant funding recipients will repair, replace, or rehabilitate nearly 270 miles of pipe, thereby reducing methane emissions by approximately 212 metric tons, annually. Ultimately, these projects will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, which enables the United States to leverage all available tools to reduce methane emissions while protecting public health, promoting U.S. innovation in new technologies, lowering energy costs for families by reducing inefficiency and waste, and supporting good-paying jobs for thousands of skilled workers across the country. The next funding opportunity of $392 million is expected to be released in May of this year.

Following the visit to Deming, the Secretary, Congressman Gabe Vasquez and other CHC members met with students at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and discussed the transportation improvements they would like to see in their community.

FAA Announces $20 Million in BIL Funding to Modernize 29 Airport Control Towers Across the U.S.

On March 31,  the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has awarded $20 million from the BIL to 29 airport-owned traffic control towers across the U.S. The funding will be used to upgrade and build control towers in small towns and at regional airports to help improve safety, lower costs and support local businesses. The funding will support important aviation operations such as commercial services, emergency services, agricultural aviation, flight training, and shipping of goods. The 33 grant awards at 29 airports for Fiscal Year 2023 are part of the FAA Contract Tower Competitive Grant program. These grants will sustain, construct, repair, improve, modernize, replace or relocate airport-owned towers and install communications equipment.

Final Roadway Fatality Report Shows Fatalities Rose Broadly and Sharply in 2021

In conjunction with the launch of its annual distracted driving prevention campaign, on Monday NHTSA released Overview of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes in 2021 — a new analysis of 2021 fatal roadway crash data, which underscores the risk of distracted and other forms of risky driving. NHTSA reported that fatalities in distraction-affected crashes increased by 12 percent from 3,154 in 2020 to 3,522 in 2021, a total of 8.2 percent of all fatalities reported. Even with these high numbers, the agency believes that distraction is likely underreported because the behavior is difficult to detect during crash investigations, and police reports likely understate its incidence. This report includes a detailed monthly analysis of vehicle miles traveled/fatality/injury trends and analysis of several major behavioral factors such as speeding, alcohol-impaired driving, and seat belt non-use.

Among the report’s key findings:

·         42,939 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways during 2021, a 10-percent increase from 39,007 fatalities in 2020, and the largest number of fatalities since 2005.

·         The estimated number of people injured on our roadways increased in 2021 to 2.50 million, rising from 2.28 million in 2020, a statistically significant increase of 9.4 percent.

·         The estimated number of police-reported traffic crashes increased from 5.25 million in 2020 to 6.10 million in 2021, a statistically significant 16-percent increase.

·         Speeding-related fatalities increased by 7.9 percent, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities increased by 14 percent, and seat belt non-use fatalities increased by 8.1 percent.

·         Urban fatalities increased by 14 percent; rural fatalities increased by 4.7 percent.

Joint Office Sponsors Webinar on Community Engagement in Transportation

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, created through the BIL to facilitate collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and DOT, provides technical assistance, analysis, and support to states and localities to help modernize the nation’s transportation system and give Americans the option to choose electric vehicles and save money fueling their vehicles. The Joint Office conducts webinars to help states and key stakeholders build capacity for electric vehicles and plan for charging infrastructure. The next such webinar will focus on community engagement in transportation and will be held on April 11, 2023 from 3:00–4:30 p.m. eastern time.

In addition to Joint Office staff, the audience will hear from Equitable Cities – an urban planning, public policy, and research firm; two state departments of transportation; and two directors from the Clean Cities Coalition Network. Audience members will learn how to conduct meaningful, ongoing stakeholder engagement with underserved communities to ensure equitable outcomes for EV infrastructure deployment. Learn more about and register for the April 11, 2023 webinar. All upcoming and past webinars can be found at

FMCSA Launches Operation Protect Your Move – A Nationwide Crackdown on Moving Scams

On Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the launch of Operation Protect Your Move, a nationwide crackdown on scam movers ahead of the busy summer moving season. Through Operation Protect Your Move, FMCSA is deploying dozens of investigators across the country in an enforcement sweep to address the significant uptick in complaints of movers holding household possessions hostage to extort exorbitant additional charges from consumers. It will also address complaints against moving companies and brokers that are not in compliance with federal safety and consumer protection regulations and statutes while transporting household goods. The Operation covers both movers and the brokers that purport to connect consumers to local movers but instead facilitate fraud by promoting scams.

Frequent complaints have been filed with FMCSA alleging companies are using deceptive business practices that are causing consumers to pay higher fees, experience delays in receiving their household goods, or in some cases not receiving their possessions at all. FMCSA is making every effort to protect consumers from these moving scams and will work directly with consumers to guide them through the process and help get their money and goods back.

FHWA Seeks Applications for Center of Excellence on New Mobility and Automated Vehicles

On Tuesday, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) posted a Notice of Funding Opportunity to establish a new Center of Excellence on New Mobility and Automated Vehicles that will collect, conduct, and fund research on the impacts of new mobility and highly automated vehicles on land use, urban design, transportation, real estate, equity, and municipal budgets. New mobility is defined as transportation network companies (e.g., Uber or Lyft), docked and dockless bikes, and docked and dockless scooters.

Applicants may be any institution of higher education or public or private research entity.  Applicant partnerships are encouraged, as FHWA expects the research to be very cross-disciplinary and to require many different types of expertise. The federal government intends to make one award under this NOFO. Applications are due by June 6, 2023.

NHTSA Announces Winners of International and U.S. Safety Awards

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the 15 recipients of the U.S. Government Safety Engineering Excellence and Special Appreciation Awards for their work in motor vehicle safety engineering and public service. The awards were presented at the 27th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) in Yokohama, Japan. This year’s conference theme was "Enhanced and Equitable Vehicle Safety for All: Toward the Next 50 Years,” and the work of these awardees represents the most cutting-edge research and development in support of that goal. The awards are presented at each biennial ESV conference and recognize scientific contributions in the field of motor vehicle safety engineering, distinguished service to the motoring public, outstanding leadership and special contributions in the field of motor vehicle safety.

Also on Monday, NHTSA honored nine individuals and one organization with the 2023 NHTSA Public Service Awards during the annual Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities. The conference held this year in Seattle, Washington is the largest annual gathering of traffic safety professionals in the United States. NHTSA play a key role in executing DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), a comprehensive approach to significantly reduce serious injuries and deaths on our roadways. The NRSS not only outlines efforts at DOT, it also calls on partners across communities – including in the public and private sectors, and in advocacy and research – to join the efforts to end roadway deaths. In February, DOT issued a Call to Action to public, private and nonprofit partners to join the Department in implementing the Safe System Approach to make our streets safer for people.

Tweets of the Week

This administration is investing in America – to make aviation safer and more efficient, while also creating good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

(@SecretaryPete, April 6, 2023)

Today, we announced funding for 37 projects across 19 states to repair and modernize gas pipelines. Investments will keep residents safe from dangerous leaks, create jobs, and reduce methane emissions in local communities.

(@SecretaryPete, April 5, 2023)

We’re protecting people from wildlife collisions on our nation’s roadways. New Mexico is a great example of how infrastructure investments will help to build its first overpass that will allow wildlife to safely cross U.S. highway 550 and prevent crashes.

(@SecretaryPete, April 4, 2023)

Albuquerque has faced high rates of pedestrian fatalities – with many of the worst crashes along Coors Blvd. Now the city and the county are taking action – and we’re bringing $6.3M in funding to improve public safety along this corridor in the city’s underserved South Valley.

(@SecretaryPete, April 4, 2023)


Hope that’s helpful. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at with questions, feedback, or brilliant ideas.          


Thanks so much,    



Lynda Tran         

Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement         

Office of the Secretary