(C) dron285 – Stock.Adobe.com Wildlife Crossing – Bridge over a highway in forest
Pennsylvania is set to receive federal grant money to reduce and prevent the number of deadly collisions between vehicles and wildlife on the Commonwealth’s roadways.
Pennsylvania will receive $840,000 as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program to develop a strategic plan for wildlife crossings, or corridors, across the Commonwealth’s roadways.
The grant funding was announced Tuesday and is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated $350 million for wildlife crossing and related projects over five years.
In September, State Farm Insurance Company released data showing that Pennsylvania reported the highest number of auto insurance claims filed for animal-vehicle collisions among states between July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.
“These numbers are stark, but not probably not surprising for Pennsylvania residents from across the state who’ve been involved in a wildlife-vehicular collision,” PennEnvironment Conservation Advocate Stephanie Wein said of the data. “We know the bleak reality is that every year thousands of animals, including deer, bear, elk, game bird and turtles are killed on Pennsylvania’s roads. This endangers both drivers and Pennsylvania’s native wildlife species. This data also highlights the urgency of investing in wildlife corridors across Pennsylvania as a proven solution for helping to avoid wildlife-vehicular collisions.”
Earlier this year, state Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery) reintroduced legislation — HR 87 — to authorize a study on the “current status, management and benefits of conservation corridors” in Pennsylvania, hoping to better protect wildlife and prevent harmful interactions with vehicles.
The study authorized by the resolution would be conducted by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee and would assist state agencies, such as the Game Commission and Department of Transportation in their efforts to manage wildlife habitat, limit forest fragmentation, and plan connectivity and crossings.
“Pennsylvania is a destination for many seeking to take advantage of its vast recreational opportunities,” Daley, who chairs the Pennsylvania House Tourism, Recreation & Economic Development Committee, said. “By limiting vehicle-wildlife collisions, these corridors make the roads people take to get here safer while nourishing the flora and fauna that people travel to see.”
The resolution passed the House in a 129-72 vote, but has yet to be taken up in the Senate.
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