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 a 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:

ELECTION RESULTS: What It Means for Safe Routes to School and Healthy Communities

December 1, 2016: 
There is a lot to digest from the results of the 2016 elections.  Read our federal policy blog for more about key changes in members of Congress, the next Transportation Secretary, and policies that might be on tap in 2017—and how it could impact Safe Routes to School and healthy communities.

usdot sets ambitious goals for biking and walking

September 29, 2016:  The Federal Highway Administration within USDOT has issued an exciting new Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation, which has a goal of eliminating biking and walking fatalities within 30 years and increasing short trips made by foot or bike by 50 percent.  They outline a number of priorities that would help infuse active transportation into all levels of transportation agencies and planning.  Learn more in our federal policy blog.

TAP obligations jump, but so do transfers

September 7, 2016:  In the past quarter, states obligated a very large $120 million in TAP funding, showing that funding is getting out to communities.  However, a total of 11 states transferred $120 million out of TAP into other uses in the quarter, increasing transfers by around 35%.  Ten of the states making transfers have done it before (AZ, CT, GA, IA, LA, ND, OK, SD, TX, UT) while one state--Illinois--transferred TAP funding for the first time.  Safe Routes to School program dollars reached a total of 89% awarded and 81% obligated.

Thousands Tell USDOT to Count People Instead of Cars; AASHTO Says Your Opinion Shouldn't Matter

August 31, 2016:  Back in May, we asked you to take action against the US Department of Transportation’s proposed system performance measures that would have measured the speed of cars and trucks in seven different ways, while not measuring at all transit, bicycling or walking.  Fortunately, thousands of individuals like you, along with wide range of organizations across sectors responded to the call and told USDOT that they should measure people, not cars.  AASHTO, however, said their comments should matter more than yours—discounting the views of the people who actually use our transportation system.  Read more in our federal policy blog.

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.

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

September 19, 2016: Sign on to support a significant investment in physical activity
July 27, 2016:
Take a look at the transportation platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties
June 29, 2016:
Learn more about our 2016 Making Strides report cards and how they rate states on implementation of TAP
June 18, 2016: States obligate $86 million in TAP funds; small progress with Safe Routes funds
May 17, 2016:
USDOT issues new guidance for the Transportation Alternatives Program
April 27, 2016:
Tell USDOT that we should measure people, not just cars!
March 31, 2016:
New state report cards score states on physical activity policies and funding
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

Legislative Archives