April 9, 2019
Chairman David Price
Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 2358-A Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 2358-A Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
RE: Department of Transportation Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request
Dear Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart:
The Center for Auto Safety (“the Center”) submits the following letter in connection with the appropriations request by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for Fiscal Year 2020. Specifically, this letter focuses on the budget request for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Center, founded in 1970, is an independent, member-driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy not only for our members, but all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians across the county. We appreciate the Subcommittee carefully considering input from all stakeholders and stand ready to assist in any way we can to improve the effectiveness of the agency that more than 300 million Americans depend on for the safety and quality of our vehicles and our roads.
On behalf of our members nationwide, the Center calls upon Congress to appropriate budgetary levels commensurate with the scope of the task facing NHTSA at a critical moment in auto safety.
Despite pledges to make a safety a priority, the budget request submitted on behalf of DOT in FY 2019 would have slashed NHTSA’s funding by almost 11% from its FY 2018 levels. This requested dramatic cut came at a time when there are more than 37,000 traffic deaths and over 2 million serious injuries caused by traffic incidents annually. Sadly, based on preliminary data, 2018 saw another increase in traffic deaths involving some of our most vulnerable road users – pedestrians. Some estimates suggest there were over 6,200 pedestrian traffic deaths in 2018. At this point,1 the preliminary data for 2018 indicates the nation still suffers more than 100 deaths every day associated with motor