Federal Policy

A key focus of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is to serve as an advocate for Safe Routes to School and related issues with Congress and the federal government and to monitor implementation of Safe Routes to School funding. Because Safe Routes to School affects communities in so many ways, our legislative priorities include transportation, education, health, and the environment.

Below you will find the latest information on the National Partnership’s legislative priorities and calls to action. You can explore the links on the left for detailed information on the current federal transportation law (the FAST Act), state implementation, and background on the legislative history.  For comprehensive search of all our resources, conduct an advanced search of our resource library.

FAST Act Background and Resources

In December 2015, Congress passed a transportation law, the FAST Act, that locks in five years of funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. Background on the law, the changes it makes to the Transportation Alternatives Program, and its impact on Safe Routes to School is available in our FAST Act Background and Resources.

Latest News and Information:

 A Look at the Republican and Democratic Party Platforms

July 27, 2016: Congress is quiet in August, but both political parties just had their national conventions and approved their party platforms.  In this month’s federal policy blog, we review the transportation planks of the Democratic and Republican party platforms.  While the platforms don’t got into great detail, they do provide context for what types of transportation investments are a priority for each party.

Using Our New State REport Cards to Maximize TAP funding

June 29, 2016:
In this month’s federal policy blog, we take a closer look at the 2016 Making Strikes state report cards, which includes a section that examines state implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).  Your state DOT’s decisions have a big impact on how quickly you are able to apply for TAP funding and how Safe Routes to School projects fare.  So, join us by downloading your state’s report card and walking through what your state is doing well, or where they could improve, in implementing TAP.

A Primer on NHTSA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Dollars

May 25, 2016: In addition to the Transportation Alternatives Program, there are other federal funding streams that can help address safety issues.  In this month's federal policy blog, we focus on understanding the 402 and 405 grants, which provide federal dollars to improve safety in each state.

USDOT issues new Transportation Alternatives Guidance

May 17, 2016: After Congress passed the FAST Act, the USDOT has to provide rules and guidance about how states should interpret changes.  USDOT has just issued the new guidance for the Transportation Alternatives Program. There aren't any surprises in the guidance -- it follows the changes Congress made in the FAST Act very closely.  For example, the guidance clearly defines that nonprofits administering Safe Routes to School programs are now eligible to compete directly for TAP funds. 

Tell USDOT that transportation is more than just cars!

April 27, 2016:  The USDOT has just proposed that states and cities measure the performance of their transportation system only through the speed of cars and trucks and traffic delays-completely ignoring people who walk, bike and take transit.  If this proposal is allowed to stand, it will mean that states and cities will have to prioritize transportation projects that speed up traffic-making it more dangerous for people walking and biking, and leaving even less money for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and transit accommodations. Read more in our federal policy blog, and then submit a comment for the record telling USDOT that people--not just cars--are what should count in transportation!

Making Strides: State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities

March 31, 2016:  States’ actions are essential to physical activity – enacting laws and policies to support active, healthy lifestyles, devoting staff and planning efforts to physical activity, and ensuring adequate funding for walking, bicycling, and physical activity.  Our new state report cards and the accompanying report make it easy to understand at a glance how states are doing in their support of walking, bicycling, and active kids and communities. Each state is scored in four key areas: Complete Streets and Active Transportation, Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding, Active Neighborhoods and Schools, and State Physical Activity Planning and Support. Take a look to see how your state is doing -- and where improvements could be made!

Measuring Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety: USDOT Says it Matters

March 23, 2016: The US Department of Transportation has released a new safety performance measure that requires states to set targets each year for reducing deaths and injuries--including for non-motorized users. Read our new federal policy blog to get a better understanding about how the rule works, and how it can help influence the spending of billions of dollars for safety.

Older News

March 23, 2016: States access new TAP funds; old Safe Routes funds dwindle
February 24, 2016:
The details on Transportation Alternatives Program Funding for 2016
January 14, 2016:
Listen to our webinar on the impact of the FAST Act on Safe Routes to School
January 6, 2016:
A new year, a new transportation law: What now?
December 15, 2015:
States obligate significant TAP dollars; finish out remaining Safe Routes commitments
December 3, 2015:
Congress locks in funding for Safe Routes with passage of the FAST Act, a new five-year transportation bill
November 1, 2015:
Speak up to protect Safe Routes funding!
October 20, 2015:
House transportation bill on the move
October 2, 2015:
House transportation bill coming soon?
September 29, 2015:
A new publication demonstrates how MPOs can advance Safe Routes to School using TAP funds.
September 18, 2015:
States on a roll with TAP funds; remaining Safe Routes funds shrinking
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015:
Act now: Funding for bicycling and walking needs your support!
AUGUST 28, 2015:
House transportation bill on tap for September
JULY 30, 2015:
Congress punts transportation until fall
JULY 24, 2015:
Senate  inches forward on transportation bill
JULY 16, 2015:
House and Senate on different paths for transportation
JUNE 22, 2015:
Senate committee unveils DRIVE Act; Needs more to support bicycling and walking
JUNE 10, 2015:
House rejects amendment to limit safe routes to transit
JUNE 5, 2015:
Safe Routes to School allocations top $1 billion; states keep moving on TAP funds
MAY 26, 2015:
Federal transportation bill extended again
APRIL 29, 2015:
Momentum builds for Transportation Alternatives bill
APRIL 7, 2015:
Broad support for the Transportation Alternatives Program
MARCH 25, 2015:
Ask your Senator: Speak up for Safe Routes to School
MARCH 19, 2015:
Two new bills advance funding and safety for Safe Routes to School, bicycling, and walking
MARCH 17, 2015:
States receive and allocate TAP dollars; continue progress on Safe Routes to School
FEBRUARY 24, 2015:
What's at stake this spring in Congress
JANUARY 30, 2015:
Congress casts about for transportation funding solution

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