Gadsden awarded federal safe streets and roads grant

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On Tuesday, October 31, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford was notified that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) had awarded the city more than $325,000 to develop a new comprehensive safety action plan. The funds, which require a 20 percent local match, will create a plan to help prevent roadway fatalities and injuries in the City of Gadsden.

Completing a comprehensive safety assessment will make the City of Gadsden more competitive for implementation grants to fund future infrastructure projects. The funding is through the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that is expected to provide $5-6 billion in grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries through 2026.

“We are happy to see our efforts advocating on behalf of Gadsden in D.C. are paying off,” said Ford. “When you can get a $400,000 comprehensive transportation safety plan for only $80,000, it’s a good day. With the help of our congressional delegation and our grant writing team, we will continue to bring tax dollars back to Gadsden so we can knock down barriers that have held us back for too long.”

The city will conduct an assessment that utilizes a data-driven approach as a basis for the safety action plan, engaging the community in problem area identification and evidence-based solutions.

The city says its goal to improve safety locally aligns with the USDOT’s commitment to reducing fatalities on our roadways.

There were 22 fatal vehicle crashes in the City of Gadsden from 2017 to 2021, making the average annual fatality rate 12.96 when normalized per 100,000 population.

While this is under the national average, city leaders say just one fatality is one too many.

Gadsden’s award is the second-largest of four grants awarded in Alabama. Other recipients were the Chambers County Commission, the City of Fairhope, and the City of Phenix City. The City of Gadsden’s Engineering Department will oversee the plan development through engaged transportation planning consultants.

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