News & Media

Inaugural Round of $110 Million in Wildlife Crossings Pilot Funding Marks Landmark Investment in Solving a $10 Billion Problem

by ARC Solutions (ARC Solutions)
December 5, 2023

 BOZEMAN, MT (December 5, 2023) — Today, we applaud Congress and the Biden Administration for delivering on their bipartisan promise to make our nation’s highways safer for people and wildlife with an inaugural investment of nearly $110 million in funding for the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program. Part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this historic funding marks the first tranche of a once-in-a-generational investment in America’s transportation system that includes – for the first time ever – $350 million in dedicated Federal funding for projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle crashes and reconnect habitats severed by roads. 

Every 26 seconds or less a vehicle hits an animal – making highways one of the greatest barriers to wildlife movement on the planet. In addition to killing 1-2 million large animals every year in the United States alone, these collisions result in the loss of 200 human lives and over 26,000 injuries, at a cost to Americans of more than $10 billion annually. With one in five species in the U.S. at risk of extinction, biodiversity loss and the related disruption of natural wildlife habitats are among the nation’s greatest conservation challenges, especially in the face of climate change. Connecting habitats and facilitating wildlife movement by building highway crossing structures enables species to migrate, access resources for survival, and better adapt to changing landscapes and climate. 

Numerous research studies show that wildlife crossing structures and fencing that guide animals over or under our nation’s highways are highly effective, reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions by up to 97%. These structures reconnect important habitat and allow animals to pass safely over or under roadways, avoiding traffic. The legislation also makes projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions eligible for funding under a variety of other transportation programs. Collectively, these new funding and policy provisions will help safeguard biodiversity while reducing highway fatalities, stimulating the U.S. economy, and mitigating the impacts of our changing climate. 

“Almost 10 years ago, a survey of close to 500 state and federal transportation agency representatives identified funding as the #1 barrier to making a national investment in wildlife crossing structures,” said Renee Callahan, Executive Director of ARC Solutions. “This inaugural round of dedicated Federal funding for wildlife infrastructure is a crucial first step in investing in climate-smart animal road crossing solutions that will improve human safety, reduce wildlife mortality, restore habitat connectivity, and create good-paying local jobs. We applaud Congress and the Biden Administration for this visionary investment in the safe movement of people and wildlife.”

For a full list of funded projects, see our press release.