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GHSA News Release

December 19, 2008

Contact: Jonathan Adkins
(202)789-0942, ext.13
(202)669-9746, cell

State Highway Safety Association Applauds DOT Nominee

Obama Administration Urged to Include Behavioral Programs in Stimulus

Statement for Attribution to Vernon F. Betkey, Jr., Chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association applauds President-Elect Obama for his excellent choice of Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL) for Transportation Secretary. Congressman LaHood is well-known around Washington for his non-partisan approach. With the highway trust fund at dangerously low levels, we are confident that Congressman LaHood, with his pragmatic background, can work toward an effective remedy.

The new Secretary will take lead responsibility on the transportation portions of the economic stimulus package that the Obama administration hopes to quickly enact. We urge the President-Elect and the incoming Transportation Secretary to think broadly and include funding for both infrastructure and behavioral highway safety programs. Unlike infrastructure projects, which may take a long time to plan, engineer and construct, there is a short planning period for federal behavioral highway safety grant funds followed by immediate expenditure as soon as these funds become available. This translates into new safety-related jobs for our communities. This is a double win -- a quick shot of stimulus into our economy and more lives saved on our roadways.

The large majority of the nearly 42,000 deaths on our roadways each year result from driver behavior including drunk drivers, speeders, distracted drivers and improperly restrained drivers and passengers. GHSA looks forward to working with the new administration to address these challenges.

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit