Our highways need work; that work requires work zones; and those work zones require special attention from drivers. More importantly, the workers rebuilding America's roads deserve our respect and our extra driving caution.
I am very pleased by the news that work zone fatalities decreased by 17% in 2007. Even better news is that this decline continues a decade-long downward trend. The most recent decline is the sharpest single-year drop since we started the National Work Zone Awareness Week safety campaign in 1999. What a fitting way to celebrate our 10th anniversary.
Work zone safety is going to be particularly important this construction season because we are distributing stimulus funds to build, repair, and maintain highways across the country. The $27 billion in economic recovery funds fueling thousands of highway construction and repair projects nationwide mean there are more work zones. The new jobs we've created in highway repair and road maintenance means more workers at risk. Drivers must be more careful than ever.
I want to thank the good folks at our Federal Highway Administration for their work. And, thanks also to our NWZAW partners for their great support: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Associated General Contractors of America, American Traffic Safety Services Association and the Virginia, Maryland, and DC Departments of Transportation.
This is shaping up to be the busiest road construction, repair, and maintenance season in many years. Let's all drive to make it the safest.