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:

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.

States Access new TAP Funds; old Safe Routes Funds Dwindle

March 23, 2016: With the passage of the FAST Act, states now have access to nearly $3 billion in funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) from 2013 to 2016. During the quarter, only one state (Kansas) transferred additional TAP funds to other uses.  Another $50 million in TAP funding was obligated, allowing projects to move forward, with 35 states making progress on obligations. With the old Safe Routes to School program, states obligated just $6 million in funding as the program starts to come to the end of the remaining dollars.

The Low-Down on Transportation Alternatives Program funding for 2016

February 24, 2016:  The US Department of Transportation has issued the funding tables from the FAST Act, so we now know how much money states and communities are receiving from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

A New Year, A New Transportation Law: What Now?

January 6, 2016:  Now that Congress has passed a long-term transportation law, we have suggestions for advocates on how to study up on the FAST Act, influence state and MPO implementation, keep the drumbeat going with policymakers and more. And, you can view the slides or listen to our webinar on the impact of the FAST Act on Safe Routes to School.

New Publication Highlights How Four MPOs Approach TAP and Safe Routes to School

September 29, 2015:   A new information brief, issued today by the National Center for Safe Routes to School and written by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, demonstrates how regional transportation planning authorities (or MPOs) can advance Safe Routes to School priorities using the relatively new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). Read more in our blog and then download the publication.

Older News

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 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

Legislative Archives