Bartow, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2023) – Polk County will receive a $720,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) through the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant program. The competitive grant program provides $5 billion over five years for regional, local and Tribal initiatives — from redesigned roads to better sidewalks and crosswalks — to prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roadways.
In 2021, the Lakeland-Winter Haven area, which encompasses all of Polk County, was listed as the ninth most dangerous metro area in the U.S. to be a pedestrian, according to a report published by Smart Growth of America, Dangerous by Design. To improve this statistic, the Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) has adopted a target of zero fatalities and serious injuries. The Polk TPO worked collaboratively with the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and other Polk municipalities to develop the SS4A grant application to make Polk’s roads safer for all road users.
“Polk’s SS4A Grant award will be used to complete a Vision Zero Action Plan that will enhance the past and ongoing Vision Zero efforts,” said Parag Agrawal, director of Polk TPO. The funds will result in a federally qualifying, highly rated, comprehensive and robust strategy to reach the target of zero fatalities countywide.
This county-wide action plan will focus on equity, identifying low cost and high impact strategies to improve safety, mapping high risk areas and identifying the most dangerous corridors and intersections in the county to develop design and project estimates. It is an important first step to compete for additional SS4A federal Implementation grants which carry a maximum award of up to $30 million for safety projects identified as part of the Vision Zero Action Plan.
The Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) is the lead transportation planning agency for Polk County. The Polk TPO is working with local governments and the Florida Department of Transportation to reach its goal of a future without traffic-related fatalities.