As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress secured funding to protect pedestrians from vehicle attacks.
The ongoing threat to public safety in crowded spaces, special events and street venues has received notice in H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Biden in November 2021. As part of the act, Congress created a grant program that will provide $25 million over the next five years to communities that install specific safety or security barriers in public areas.
“Unfortunately, public areas and places where crowds gather for events have become targets for vehicular attacks, and accidents involving vehicles and buildings or crowded events injure thousands and kill hundreds of Americans every year,” said Jake Parker, senior director of government relations for the Security Industry Association (SIA). “We are pleased that President Biden and Congress have acted through the landmark infrastructure bill to support communities with the strategic placement of bollards and other security barriers in key locations critical to protecting the public. These solutions require significant security and engineering expertise to be deployed affordably and effectively, and SIA members stand ready to assist.”
Law Includes “Stopping Threats on Pedestrians”
The law includes a wide range of funding for transportation and critical infrastructure projects and initiatives, and SIA has written extensively about this bill in the past, including Jake Parker’s November 2021 article What the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Means for Security and Life Safety Companies.
Section 11502 of the law includes specific grant funding for approved projects that meet certain criteria, and it directly mentions the installation of bollards for the protection of pedestrians from vehicles.
The section provides basic criteria for qualification for funding:
- A description of the proposed bollard installation project to be carried out
- A description of the pedestrian injury or terrorism risks with respect to the proposed installation area
- An analysis of how the proposed bollard installation project will mitigate those risks
Crowded Spaces, Public Areas
Not only is the funding important for local governments as they work to increase public safety and security in crowded spaces and busy public areas, but the Section 11502 language raises visibility and establishes baseline criteria for cities large and small to guide their planning and use for outdoor spaces generally. This section of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act very specifically calls out the problem and the solution. The applicable language in the act is clear: projects applying for funding must be “designed to prevent pedestrian injuries and acts of terrorism in areas used by large numbers of pedestrians.”
Given the history of accidental and deliberate vehicle-related tragedies at street events and crowded tourist areas over the last 10 years or more, this investment in the protection of pedestrians is encouraging and far-reaching.
SIA will continue to update the membership and provide guidance on accessing this funding as more details are available, and there will be discussion of this legislation at the annual SIA Perimeter Security Subcommittee meeting, which will be held on Thursday, March 24, at ISC West 2022.
Full Text of Section 11502
While the full text of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is available from Congress.gov, the portion copied below is the relevant section 11502:
SEC. 11502. <<NOTE: 23 USC 148 note.>> STOPPING THREATS ON PEDESTRIANS.
(a) Definition of Bollard Installation Project.–In this section, the term “bollard installation project” means a project to install raised concrete or metal posts on a sidewalk adjacent to a roadway that are designed to slow or stop a motor vehicle.
(b) <<NOTE: Deadline. Grants.>> Establishment.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary shall establish and carry out a competitive grant pilot program to provide assistance to State departments of transportation and local government entities for bollard installation projects designed to prevent pedestrian injuries and acts of terrorism in areas used by large numbers of pedestrians.
(c) <<NOTE: Determination.>> Application.–To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a State department of transportation or local government entity shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Secretary determines to be appropriate, which shall include, at a minimum–
(1) a description of the proposed bollard installation project to be carried out;
(2) a description of the pedestrian injury or terrorism risks with respect to the proposed installation area; and
(3) <<NOTE: Analysis.>> an analysis of how the proposed bollard installation project will mitigate those risks.
(d) Use of Funds.–A recipient of a grant under this section may only use the grant funds for a bollard installation project.
(e) Federal Share.–The Federal share of the costs of a bollard installation project carried out with a grant under this section may be up to 100 percent.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations.–There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026.
(g) Treatment of Projects.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a project assisted under this section shall be treated as a project on a Federal-aid highway under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code.