Mobility

Everything You Need to Know About Procuring the $5 Billion in SS4A Grants

Jonathan Bass
June 27, 2022

The federal government is awarding $5 billion in Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grants to combat a nationwide rise in traffic deaths.

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released crash data for the year 2020, the results were sobering.

COVID-19 regulations and lockdowns shifted travel patterns. There were fewer cars on the road; police-reported crashes were down 22%; traffic injuries were down 17%. And yet, fatal crashes rose by nearly 7% — with the VMT fatality rate spiking 21%.

The findings have been deemed nothing short of a crisis by NHTSA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Steven Cliff, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, with the latter declaring his plans to combat the crisis:

"This is a national crisis. We cannot and must not accept these deaths as an inevitable part of everyday life," said Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "The good news is we now have a strategy, as well as the resources and programs to deliver it, thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The National Roadway Safety Strategy is America’s first-ever national, comprehensive plan to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on our roads."

Safe Streets and Roads for All

A major component of the strategy, Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A), is a discretionary program that will provide $5 billion of funding over the next five years — with $1 billion being available in fiscal year 2022.

The Urban SDK team has reviewed the funding requirements and listed pertinent details below.

Who is eligible for SS4A grant

Safe Streets funding is casting a wide net in order to curb the national road safety crisis.

The following organizations are eligible to apply for SS4A grants:

  • Metropolitan planning organizations (MPO, TPO, TPA)
  • Counties
  • Cities and towns
  • Transit agencies  
  • Special districts that are subdivisions of a State;
  • Federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Multi-jurisdictional groups comprised of the above entities (regional councils, partnerships)

Types of SS4A grants

There are two types of SS4A grants available:

It is important to note that applicants must choose which grant they intend to apply. Applicants may only apply for an Action Plan Grant or an Implementation Grant, not both.

Specifics of each grant are below, but a good rule of thumb is that Action Plan Grants are for the 3 Ps: Planning, Policy, Process. Implementation grants are for carrying out strategies from Action Plans.

Action Plan Grants

These grants are for organizations who require funds to develop or complete an Action Plan, or to "conduct supplemental planning activities."

Activities can include:

  • Goal setting and timelines for Vision Zero
  • Safety analysis of existing conditions
  • Expanded data collection
  • Policy and progress changes

In order to apply for an Action Plan Grant, applicants must have an established Action Plan. If not, they should have a similar existing plan in place that meets eligibility requirements.

Anticipated award size

The expected minimum for Action Plan Grants is $200,000 for all applicants; however, amounts under this minimum will be considered

State and/or Tribal governments are expected to receive a maximum of $1 million; MPOs and multi-jurisdictional groups have an expected maximum of $5 million.

Implementation Grants

These grants are for making tangible changes outlined in Action Plans, using a Safe System Approach.

Example include:

  • Creating safe routes to school
  • Conducting education campaigns
  • Shoulder widening, pouring new sidewalks
  • Installing rumble strips
  • Signal improvements

Note that state-level action plans cannot be used as an established plan to apply for an Implementation Grant — i.e. Strategic Highway Safety Plans, State Highway Safety Plans Commercial Vehicle Safety Plans, Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans, etc.

Anticipated award size

The expected minimum for Implementation Grants is $3 million for Tribal governments and rural areas (population under 200,000). The maximum expected in these areas is $30 million

MPOs and multi-jurisdictional groups can expect a minimum of $5 million and a maximum award of $50 million.

Where to apply and deadline

Organizations must file for grants at Grants.gov.

Application deadline is at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, September 15, 2022.

The Department of Transportation conservatively estimates that the SS4A grant process will take 2-4 weeks — with more time needed for any organization needing to create an Action Plan, or those collaborating as part of a regional coalition.

Partnering with Urban SDK

Urban SDK has a demonstrated experience partnering with public organizations to procure federal funding.

Set up or improve your regional safety analysis by using Urban SDK to integrate Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data immediately. Our GIS maps and data will help secure your Action Plan's need for geospatial identification higher risk location

Our Traffic Incident Management product will also enable your safety officials to forecast then areas with the highest probability of a disruptive crash.

Contact our team here to discuss how we can partner on an SS4A grant, and get you the funds needed to ensure safer roads in your community.

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