FAST Act Background and Resources

In late June 2012, Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, that made significant changes to funding for bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School. Those changes were then sustained for five more years--along with a few additional tweaks--via the FAST Act, which was passed by Congress in December 2015.

Starting in 2012, the federal Safe Routes to School program, which existed from 2005 to 2012, was combined with other bicycling and walking programs into a new program called the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). There is less funding available for the Transportation Alternatives Program than for the programs that were consolidated, and there is no longer dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School. 

However, this leaves each state Department of Transportation with discretion about whether to fund Safe Routes to School projects, and how much funding to dedicate to these initiatives.  In addition, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations for larger cities (population of 200,000 or more) will also receive funding through Transportation Alternatives that they can provide for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking projects.

Advocates will be better able to advocate for ongoing support if they are up-to-date on MAP-21 and the FAST Act.  Key background resources are listed below, grouped by topic area. While many of the resources are older and focus on the MAP-21 transportation law, because the FAST Act left the Transportation Alternatives Program fairly unchanged, the information still is relevant.

Understanding the federal legislation

State Implementation

MPO Implementation