Unsafe Streets: New Mexico’s Deadly Roads Overlooked for Federal Funding Despite High Fatality Rates

Gallup, New Mexico, a city plagued by a high pedestrian death rate, is struggling to access federal funds intended to improve road safety. Despite being in a disadvantaged area, the city has not received much-needed financial assistance from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program. The lack of resources and capacity to pursue grants has hindered Gallup’s ability to address its pressing transportation issues.

In contrast to more affluent counties that have successfully obtained funding, Gallup remains overlooked in the distribution of federal grants. The city’s infrastructure deficiencies, such as narrow and poorly maintained sidewalks, contribute to the high number of pedestrian fatalities. The community’s vulnerability is further compounded by a lack of dedicated grant writers and limited interest in transportation initiatives.

The challenges faced by Gallup reflect a broader issue of inequitable distribution of resources in road safety programs. Many underserved communities, particularly in rural and tribal areas, struggle to compete for grants due to limited capacity and expertise in grant writing. Despite the urgent need for funding to address safety concerns, these communities are often left behind in the allocation of federal grants.

Efforts to raise awareness about road safety and advocacy for change are crucial in addressing the pressing issue of pedestrian fatalities. In places like Las Cruces, where passionate advocates like Barbara Toth have taken action, awareness and community engagement have led to successful grant applications and initiatives to improve road safety. The contrast between proactive communities like Las Cruces and underserved areas like Gallup underscores the importance of grassroots advocacy in driving change.

As the Safe Streets program continues to distribute funding, there is an opportunity to prioritize underserved communities and bridge the gap in road safety initiatives. By investing in education and capacity-building for grant writing in vulnerable areas like Gallup, there is a potential to create meaningful change and address the systemic disparities in transportation infrastructure funding. The need for equitable distribution of resources in road safety programs is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of all communities across the country.