Romney Leads Colleagues in Introducing Bill to Reduce Traffic Congestion

Smart Intersections Act would improve traffic signals and roadway efficiency throughout the country

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today led his colleagues in introducing the Smart Intersections Act, legislation which would reduce traffic congestion and improve roadway efficiency by establishing a grant program at the Department of Transportation (DOT) with the purpose of improving the functioning of traffic signals throughout the country. U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are cosponsors of the legislation.

“Traffic congestion has increasingly become a problem which needs addressing in Utah’s cities and in many metropolitan areas around our country,” Senator Romney said. “Our bill proposes a multifaceted solution to reducing traffic congestion and improving the safety and effectiveness of our roads, while also reducing fuel costs and air pollution. As we continue to have discussions on improving our country’s infrastructure, I will work to ensure that our legislation be included in any deal that is agreed upon.”

“Improving traffic signal functions across the country will not only reduce congestion and help ensure the safety of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road, it will also reduce fuel costs and air pollution caused by carbon emissions,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill, which will help address traffic congestion and improve traffic safety, making Michigan an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

“We can cut traffic jams and make our roads safer by just improving our traffic lights,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will help Hawaii and states across the country modernize their traffic signals so that everyone – walkers, bikers, and drivers – can get to where they need to go more safely and efficiently.”

“I am glad to work across the aisle on this commonsense bill that can provide direct support to New Hampshire cities and towns for updates to their traffic signals. Improvements to traffic signals can help to address traffic congestion and support road safety, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill,” said Senator Hassan.

The Smart Intersections Act establishes a Smart Technology Traffic Signals Grant Program where the Department of Transportation would make grants to state, local, or tribal governments to improve the functioning of traffic signals.

These grants could be used to:

  • Improve the active management of traffic signals;
  • Implement strategies, activities, and projects that support active management of traffic signal operations;
  • Replace outdated traffic signals;
  • Pay the costs of temporary staffing hours dedicated to updating traffic signal technology for local governments with a population less than 500,000.

Other provisions:

  • None of the funds could be used for the use of a traffic enforcement system;
  • Directs the GAO to study the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving the efficiency of our traffic systems.

Support for the Smart Intersections Act:

“ATSSA is proud to support this bipartisan legislation that aims to improve roadway safety and reduce fatalities through innovation and the modernization of traffic signals. More than ever, it is important for our industry to look to the future and ensure that roadway safety infrastructure keeps pace with the technological advances we are seeing across the roadway system. With this legislation, Sens. Romney, Schatz and Peters are ensuring that we have the tools to do so.” – President and CEO of American Traffic Safety Services Association, Stacy Tetschner

“The National League of Cities appreciates the bipartisan leadership of Sen. Romney and Sen. Schatz on the Smart Intersections Act of 2021 to partner with communities in this essential transportation technology and keep our economic hubs moving. Cities and towns want to keep everyone moving in their areas safely, and the best way to keep traffic flowing and pedestrians safe is to invest in advanced transportation signal technology that can keep the green lights coming and better manage flow.”
– CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities, Clarence Anthony

“As the fastest growing state in the nation, Utah is increasingly utilizing smart technology to alleviate our traffic congestion and air quality challenges. Wasatch Front Regional Council is grateful to Senator Romney for his leadership in introducing the bipartisan ‘Smart Intersections Act of 2021’ that will help state and local governments across the U.S. to implement smart technology traffic signals systems that will help to reduce traffic congestion, improve mobility and air quality, and increase safety on our roadways for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.”
– Executive Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Utah’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organization, Andrew Gruber

“The Smart Intersections Act of 2021 is a positive step in bringing our nation’s surface transportation network into the 21st century. ASCE applauds Senator Romney’s legislation that creates a Smart Technology Traffic Signals Grant Program that would improve the active management of traffic signals through enhanced corridor timing and detection systems, implementing connected vehicle technology, and replace outdate traffic signals. In ASCE’s 2021 Infrastructure Report Card our nation’s roads and bridges earned the grades of a “D” and “C.” Senator Romney’s legislation helps address these subpar grades by reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, enhancing roadway safety, and improving emergency response efforts.”
– 2021 President, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E.

The Smart Intersections Act is endorsed by the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATTSA), the National League of Cities, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Wasatch Front Regional Council, and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA).