A new U.S. Senate bill seeks to permit states to use existing federal surface transportation funding to invest in vehicle-to-infrastructure projects aimed at improving road safety.

Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced the legislation June 3. It is a companion bill to House legislation that Representative Candice Miller (R-Mich.) introduced in February.

If passed into law, the legislation would allow states to use funding provided by the National Highway Performance Program, the Surface Transportation Program, and the Highway Safety Improvement Program to invest in vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) projects.

The bill is known as the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015. 

“Connected vehicles and infrastructure are the next frontier of the American auto industry and vehicle safety, and we must ensure that states can make the necessary investments to implement these critical safety technologies,” Peters said in a released statement. “I’m proud to work with Senator Blunt and Representative Candice Miller to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will ensure our infrastructure is keeping pace with these cutting-edge safety technologies and help the vehicles and infrastructure of the future work together to conserve energy, reduce accidents and congestion, and ultimately save lives.” 

The legislation has already drawn support from Ford, General Motors, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers, Cisco and ITS America – the High Tech Transportation Association.

“Connectivity technologies are driving innovation in vehicles faster than ever,” said Curt Magleby, Ford’s vice president for government relations. “But the future of mobility includes not only smarter cars, but smarter roads and cities. Vehicle-to-infrastructure can help improve safety and reduce congestion on our roads by advancing development of new models for mobility.”

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) found that more than 32,000 people were killed in motor vehicles crashes on American roads. According to NTHSA, fully deployed vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and V2I communication technologies have the potential to eliminate up to 80 percent of vehicle accidents involving non-impaired drivers.