Report: Increase in Virginia Traffic Fatalities Reflective of National Trends

First reponders

Virginia’s traffic fatalities decreased last year for the first time since the pandemic and after a significant increase from 2020-2021 — but they’re still up by 24 percent since 2013.

These trends generally mirror national traffic trends, with traffic fatalities up 25 percent nationally during that same period, according to TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit. The U.S. saw a dramatic rise in traffic fatalities in 2021 and a “modest decrease” in 2022 and 2023. 

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Federal Emergency Relief Funds Made Available to Offset Repair Costs on Roads in Cherokee National Forest

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced the immediate availability of $4.65 million in emergency relief funds to offset the costs of repairing road damage in the Cherokee National Forest due to flooding last month.

“These emergency funds will help restore vital transportation links in the Cherokee National Forest that were damaged by last month’s floods,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Transportation is an essential part of disaster recovery, and these funds will help clear debris and reconstruct pavement so that emergency vehicles can access the area, and residents can access their homes.”

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Transportation Department Awards Noncompetitive Contracts ‘Counter to Federal Procurement Rules,’ Inspector General Says

Just the News’ Golden Horseshoe is awarded this week to the Department of Transportation for  awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in IT contracts that lacked adequate documentation or proper justification and were extended without oversight, according to a new DOT Inspector General audit.

“Counter to Federal procurement requirements, DOT’s contracting officers (CO) awarded multiple noncompetitive actions to ITSS [IT shared services] contract vehicles without proper justifications, beyond contract term limits, and despite prolonged contractor performance issues,” the audit summary read.

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Rep. Cline Criticizes Priorities for Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Funds

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Representative Ben Cline (R-VA-06) said guidelines for funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill will “hamstring funding for traditional infrastructure such as roads and highways” by favoring public transit, renewable energy, climate resilience, electric vehicle infrastructure, and other projects.

“During a time of 40-year high inflation, a crippling supply chain, and higher prices of goods and services, the Biden administration is prioritizing infrastructure funds for Green New Deal projects over highway expansion,” Cline said in a Tuesday press release. “Americans need transparency from this administration to ensure their tax dollars are being properly used.”

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Georgia’s $130 Million Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Receives Federal Approval

The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on Georgia’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, opening the door to millions in federal taxpayer dollars for the state.

With this approval, the Georgia Department of Transportation can start planning how the state will spend roughly $130 million to pay for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.

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Feds Reimburse Michigan $50 Million for Emergency Road and Bridge Repairs

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded Michigan $50 million to reimburse emergency road and bridge repairs after heavy rain and dam failures in 2020 caused widespread flooding in mid-Michigan.

The deluge caused more than 10,000 people to evacuate from 3,500 homes, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. Whitmer welcomed the reimbursement.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Says Washington Dysfunction Hurting Florida Transportation Projects

In a press release on Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis called attention to the impacts congressional inaction and dysfunction are beginning to have on transportation projects in Florida.

“Yet again, the delays in Washington are impacting the lives of Floridians,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “It is unacceptable that Congress or the Biden Administration would use highway construction as a bargaining chip and leave Florida taxpayers to foot the bill. This is even more proof that the Democrats in leadership don’t want to help people, they don’t want to get anything done, they just want to follow a political agenda.”

And DeSantis is not alone in his criticism.

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