In November of 2021, President Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, a bill that promoted a countrywide investment in local and federal infrastructure. Importantly, the 5-year bill introduced a new infrastructure plan, titled “Safe Streets and Roads for All” (SS4A). This year, Thrive had the opportunity to aid Terre Haute and Clay County in their applications for this program.
Director of Community Development Karen Schneider has taken the lead on this project, and fittingly so. Her twenty-five years of experience in infrastructure planning, along with her bachelor’s degree in Urban/Regional Studies make her an ideal leader for our region’s infrastructure projects.
Schneider explained that importance of SS4A, noting that “SS4A is meant to either come up with a transportation safety plan, or, once that transportation safety plan is written, implement part of that.” With these plans in place, cities will be able to apply federal grants towards larger-scale infrastructure projects.
However, SS4A is different from previous infrastructure plans in that “[t]he bulk of the money is in those safety plans,” Schneider elaborated.
“This time around, the push is to get these plans in place. If you have a plan that says, ‘Hey, these are our needs, and these are our needs prioritized,” it’s so much easier to go after money.”
In the past, local governments were often left to create their own safety plans, with little help or funding. With the introduction of SS4A, Schneider hopes to see our local Indiana governments creating comprehensive safety plans, without having to pay with their own funds.
As of now, Thrive has submitted applications to the program for two local governments –– the City of Terre Haute and Clay County–– with plans to submit the City of Riley’s application in the following year. If accepted, the cities will be provided with 80% of their needed funds to form safety plans.