H. R. 3536
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 1, 2011
Mr. Johnson of Georgia (for himself, Mr. Barletta, Mr. Filner, Mr. Holt, Mr. Carnahan, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Stark, Mr. Altmire, Mr. Rangel, Ms. Pingree of Maine, and Mr. Bishop of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
To direct the Secretary of Transportation to delay certain target compliance dates for minimum retroreflectivity level standards applicable to traffic signs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Safe Roads for America Act of
Congress finds the following:
An individual who is 65 years of age needs 4 times the amount of light to see at night as compared to an individual who is 25 years of age.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety projects that by 2030 1 in every 4 drivers will be 65 years of age or older.
Increasing the retroreflectivity and size of traffic signs provides added decision time for older drivers.
Increasing the retroreflectivity and size of traffic signs also provides for faster response time by emergency medical technicians and police and fire personnel by increasing their ability to read and understand signs and reduce travel time to a site.
More than 50 percent of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities occur at night, and increased retroreflectivity of traffic signs addresses this issue.
In 2007, the following deadlines were established in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices in response to a statutory requirement from Congress:
By January 22, 2012, roadway owners must adopt a plan to ensure that their signs meet minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
By January 22, 2015, regulatory and warning signs and post-mounted signs must meet minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
By January 22, 2018, overhead and street name signs must meet minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
The Federal Highway Administration has estimated that the cost for making these retroreflectivity improvements for signage throughout the United States is $37,000,000 over a 10-year period.
At no point must a roadway owner replace a sign that meets the minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
The United States is currently experiencing the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.
As a result, local governments across the United States are experiencing one of the most economically challenging times in history, with available revenues unable to match the costs of services demanded by the public.
To compensate for depressed revenue collections during the economic downturn, counties and cities are adopting severe cost-cutting measures, such as laying off and furloughing employees (including public safety personnel), cancelling or postponing planned capital improvements, deferring necessary maintenance, cutting equipment inventories, and in some cases declaring bankruptcy.
The costs of employee benefits continue to rise and local governments have to devote more resources to keep up with inflation.
States are passing along the costs of services to local governments as a method to balance their budgets.
The outlook for recovery appears to be at least 5 years away given that, even when the economy recovers, local governments experience a delay in increased tax collections due to the nature of property tax collections.
Retroreflectivity level standards applicable to traffic signs
The Secretary of Transportation shall modify the target compliance dates for minimum retroreflectivity level standards set forth in section 2A.08 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, 2009 Edition (incorporated by reference in subpart F of part 655 of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations) so that the following target compliance dates apply:
A target compliance date of January 22, 2012, for implementation and continued use of an assessment or management method that is designed to maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity at or above the established minimum levels.
A target compliance date of January 22, 2018, for replacement of regulatory, warning, and post-mounted guide (except street name) signs that are identified using the assessment or management method as failing to meet the established minimum levels.
A target compliance date of January 22, 2021, for replacement of street name signs and overhead guide signs that are identified using the assessment or management method as failing to meet the established minimum levels.
Effect on proposed regulations
The Secretary shall revise the notice of proposed amendments published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 54156), to incorporate the target compliance dates specified in subsection (a).
The Secretary may use funds available to the Secretary to carry out this section notwithstanding any funding limitation enacted before the date of enactment of this Act.
Highway safety improvement program
Highway signs and pavement markings
Section 148(a)(3)(B)(xi) of title 23, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Installation, replacement, and upgrade of highway signs and pavement markings, including any upgrade of materials and the implementation of any assessment or management method designed to meet a State-established performance standard, Federal regulation, or requirement contained in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices relating to minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
Maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity
Section 148(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
Project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity
project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity means a
project undertaken pursuant to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
requiring public agencies to use an assessment or management method that is
designed to maintain highway sign or pavement marking retroreflectivity at or
above prescribed minimum
Section 148(d)(1) of such title is amended—
or at the end of subparagraph (A);
by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C); and
by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following:
any project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity on a public road, whether or not such project is included in the State strategic highway safety plan; or
Increased Federal share
The first sentence of section 120(c)(1) of such
title is amended by inserting
maintaining minimum levels of
retroreflectivity of highway signs or pavement markings, after
Standards for projects To upgrade highway signs and pavement markings
Section 148 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
Standards for projects To upgrade highway signs and pavement markings
The Secretary shall issue standards for the use of funds apportioned to a State under section 104(b)(5) for highway safety improvement projects to upgrade highway signs and pavement markings in order to meet or exceed minimum maintained levels of retroreflectivity. Such standards shall ensure that the projects are carried out so as to meet defined criteria, consistent with other safety upgrades, using a systematic approach. Such standards shall permit the use of the funds for an initial upgrade of highway signs and pavement markings in the State, but shall prohibit the funds from being used for maintenance activities.