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:

Funding estimates for TAP UNDER the FAST Act

January 20, 2016:  While the US Department of Transportation has not yet issued the final funding amounts for states and regions, in the interim we have created estimates of each state's share of TAP funding for 2016

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

January 14, 2016: View the slides or listen to our webinar on the impact of the FAST Act on Safe Routes to School

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. 

TAP funds moving in nearly all states; Safe Routes funds nearly tapped out

December 16, 2015:  Continuing the trend over the past several quarters, states are moving quickly to obligate Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds while finishing out the small amount of funds that remain in the Safe Routes to School program. With the old Safe Routes to School program, $4 million in funding was awarded and $28 million was obligated, and the large majority of states have used up their Safe Routes to School funding. For TAP, obligation jumped by $120 million and all but 8 states obligated new dollars.  While no new states transferred money away from TAP, 9 states transferred an additional $65 million (CO, CT, LA, MS, OK, SC, SD, TX and WI).  Safe Routes to School awards make up approximately 14% of TAP funding, which is comparable to the ratio under the old bicycling and walking programs.  However, many states are not reporting regularly their Safe Routes to School awards so the total is likely higher.

Congress Locks in Funding for Safe Routes with new Five-Year Transportation bill

December 3, 2015: Today, the US House of Representatives passed the FAST Act, a new five-year transportation bill.  Once signed into law early next week, we will have five years of certainty that the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) will continue to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. There is a small increase in funding for TAP (which is renamed "STP Setaside"), nonprofits are eligible to compete for funding, and the competitive structure with shared decision-making between state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations is maintained.  Read our federal policy blog for the full details on how the new legislation affects 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

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