2012 Legislative Archives

This page includes archives of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership's legislative actions in 2012.  Since this is a historical archive, links may not work.  Current information on our legislative priorities is available on our National webpage. You may also visit our legislative archives by year:  2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008-2007.

Legislative Archives 2012

What's Next at the Federal Level for MAP-21

December 3, 2012: While interim guidance was issued by the US Department of Transportation in October, there are still many implementation tasks remaining on MAP-21. Final guidance, rules, regulations, best practices for applications and performance measures all must be issued, and will affect how your state implements Safe Routes to School.  Learn more about next steps on federal implementation in our latest blog post

Commenting on new physical activity report

December 2, 2012: The US Department of Health and Human Services has issued a draft report summarizing the evidence around initiatives to increase physical activity for youth.  Three of the 12 initiatives studied related to Safe Routes to School and the built environment, and all three were found to have enough evidence to pursue implementation.  This confirms what we have seen as Safe Routes to School is implemented.  We have submitted comments to HHS on ways to further strengthen the report's treatment of Safe Routes to School.

Advocating for performance measures

November 5, 2012: The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has signed on to a letter to the US Department of Transportation to advocate for performance measures that incorporate all modes of transportation.  USDOT has another year before it is required to set performance measures, although they are already assessing options.

Identifying matching funds for Safe Routes to School

November 2, 2012: As the new interim guidance for Transportation Alternatives requires a 20 percent match for Safe Routes to School, our new blog outlines what qualifies for the match and provides ideas on how to raise those matching funds.

Final quarter of FY12 shows continued investments in Safe Routes to School

November 2, 2012: During the fourth quarter of FY2012, states announced $18.7 million in funding for Safe Routes to School, leaving approximately $285 million yet to be spent by states.  States also had a record showing in obligations, with $62.8 million obligated, or 54% of available funds.

Federal guidance on Transportation Alternatives Released

October 22, 2012: Today, the US Department of Transportation released the new interim guidance on Transportation Alternatives, which provides states with additional information on how to implement the program.  Unfortunately, the guidance rules that Safe Routes to School projects will now require a 20 percent local match when funded under Transportation Alternatives.  On the positive side, leftover Safe Routes to School funds can still fund projects at 100% of their costs, and Safe Routes to School coordinators can be paid from Transportation Alternatives funding.  Read our blog for the full details.

Securing Safe Routes Funds – One State at a Time

October 9, 2012: Since we are now past October 1, MAP-21, is now in effect; guidance from the US Department of Transportation on implementation of the Transportation Alternatives program should be available soon.  States are already making decisions on Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking funding--read in our latest blog about progress and victories in eight states.   Many other states have not yet made their decisions and need to hear from you, so please contact your state campaign lead today and offer your help. Every advocate's voice matters as we take this fight to each and every state!

National groups weigh in on Transportation Alternatives guidance

September 21, 2012: The US Department of Transportation is in the home stretch on issuing its interpretation and guidance on how states can implement the Transportation Alternatives portion of MAP-21. We worked with America Bikes to coordinate a national sign-on letter to USDOT on critical guidance issues, including the Safe Routes to School coordinators and match.

National Partnership submits policy recommendations to Institute of Medicine

September 18, 2012: The Institute of Medicine has created a committee to develop recommendations on making schools a focal point for reducing obesity and making physical activity a part of daily life.  The National Partnership has submitted recommendations specific to Safe Routes to School to the Committee.

Taking the fate of Safe Routes to School into our hands

September 5, 2012: We are one month away from October 1, when MAP-21 provisions go into affect.  Please take one hour to watch our webinar on the Safe Routes to School impacts of MAP-21 to get informed.  And, then take a look at our checklist of concrete things you can do in the next month to take ownership over your state's funding for Safe Routes to School and your own program.  At the national level, we continue to work with the US Department of Transportation to ensure their implementation guidance is supportive of maintaining Safe Routes to School.

State obligations at record levels for third quarter of FY12

July 30, 2012: During the third quarter of FY2012, states obligated $52.1 million in Safe Routes to School funding, bringing obligations to a total of $551 million, or 50% of available funds.  This is the strongest quarter for obligations since we began tracking through our quarterly State of the States reports.  States also awarded $31.2 million in funding.  Once all funds for FY2012 are awarded, states will have approximately $300 million in Safe Routes to School funds remaining to award.

Next steps on MAP-21

July 26, 2012: It's been nearly a month since Congress passed the new transportation bill, MAP-21.  Read more about our plans for next steps on the transportation bill and Director Deb Hubsmith's thoughts on how it's up to us to ensure continued growth for Safe Routes to School.

Transportation conference finalized; cuts funding for Safe Routes, bicycling, walking

June 28, 2012: Negotiators on the transportation bill have reached an agreement, that is expected to be voted on yet this week by the House and Senate.  Unfortunately, the agreement includes significant cuts to Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.  Please see our joint statement with America Bikes and our latest blog post with more specifics for Safe Routes to School.

New life, new threats in Transportation Conference

June 20, 2012: Negotiations on the transportation bill have been revived after a breakdown last week.  There is new pressure from the House to make bicycling/walking funding optional and to eliminate Safe Routes to School even as an eligible use.  Read more in our latest blog about what’s happening and how you can weigh in.

Deja Vu: House Aims to Eliminate Local Funds for Biking and Walking

June 11, 2012: It’s come down to a fight for local control.  Negotiations on the federal transportation bill are at a critical point and twenty years of gains on bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School are at risk. Cities and counties all over the country need transportation funding to build sidewalks and bike paths to make streets safer, get local economies moving, and encourage active living. In transportation conference negotiations, the House is again proposing to eliminate local access to these federal funds. Please contact your members of Congress now to protect local access to funds for Safe routes to School, bicycling and walking projects. You can read the full action alert in our latest blog post.

Transportation Bill at Tipping Point?

June 4, 2012: After several weeks of reported progress, the latest news reports say that negotiations on the transportation bill are on the rocks.  This week is likely to be a tipping point in whether we get a new transportation bill or another extension. News reports also have indicated that we continue to be a target for House Republicans on the conference committee.  So it’s critical to be diligent and persistent letting your members of Congress know that Safe Routes to School is important to you.  And, get your mayor, school board members and other local elected officials to weigh in too! Learn more in our latest blog post.

70 National Groups Support Cardin-Cochran Agreement

May 30, 2012: A total of 70 national groups--representing a range of interests including transportation, health, business, government and more--have signed onto a national letter in support of the Cardin-Cochran agreement. We are grateful for the broad support as we advocate that Congress retain local access to federal transportation dollars for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.

Conference Committee Meeting Now; Contact Congress

May 15, 2012: House and Senate conferees are meeting in earnest to negotiate a final transportation bill.  Now is the time to weigh in with your Members of Congress to ask them to protect the Cardin-Cochran agreement in conference.

New National Poll Shows Broad Support for Bicycling and Walking Funding

May 9, 2012: America Bikes released the results of a new national poll on funding for bicycling and walking.  It found that 83% of Americans, including 80% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats, support retaining or increasing federal funding for bicycling and walking.

House Passes Another Extension; Conferencing Long-Term Bill with Senate

April 19, 2012:  Yesterday, the House passed a second transportation extension as a procedural move to go to conference with the Senate on a long-term transportation bill.  This uncommon strategy is the result of the House's challenges in securing enough votes to pass its transportation bill HR7.  Now, the Senate and House will try to reconcile differences between the Senate's MAP-21 and the House's provisions.  Learn more in our latest blog post.

Push for Transportation Bill Stalls in House; Current Law Extended

March 30, 2012:  March has been a busy month for transportation, with the Senate passing MAP-21 after including better provisions for bicycling and walking, and the National Bike Summit.  But, that momentum has ground to a halt with the House opting to pass a 90-day extension rather than passing the Senate’s bill.  Learn more about these happenings, and our efforts to push the House to either pass MAP-21 or to vote to restore funding for Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements, in our latest blog post.

Senate Passes MAP-21 Bill with Provisions for Safe Routes

March 14, 2012: Today the Senate passed the MAP-21 transportation bill, including a number of improvements for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.  The Safe Routes to School National Partnership applauds the Senate for their bipartisan action on the transportation reauthorization and urges the House to move quickly to take up the bipartisan MAP-21 bill.

A Win for Safe Routes to School, Bicycling and Walking in the Senate

March 2, 2012: We have just learned that the Cardin-Cochran amendment has been included in the base Senate transportation bill, MAP-21.  This amendment will ensure that local governments, school systems, and metropolitan planning organizations are able to access much-needed funds to make routes to school and routes throughout communities safe for bicycling and walking.  Read on for more details and next steps.

Transportation Bill:  Fits and Starts; Action Still Needed

February 22, 2012
Check out our latest National Policy & Advocacy blog for updates on what's happening in the House and Senate on the transportation bill, what's on tap for next week, and how you can weigh in to save Safe Routes to School.

Double Your Impact—Act Now on Key Senate and House Transportation Votes

February 9, 2012
The current Senate transportation bill dilutes Safe Routes to School, walking and bicycling programs. It gives your state DOT the power to decide whether or not to make any funding available for these critical programs.  Ask your Senators to vote for the Cardin-Cochran amendment to guarantee local governments a voice in transportation decisions, allowing them to build sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe.  At the same time, ask your Representative to oppose the House transportation bill.

House Vote to Restore Safe Routes to School Narrowly Fails

February 3, 2012
Tens of thousands of advocates and hundreds of organizations deluged members of the Transportation Committee with calls and emails in support of bicycling and walking. The result?  A very close bipartisan vote, but unfortunately, not a winning vote.  Please read our thoughts about the vote and next steps--and about the quickly approaching Senate vote.

House Bill Eliminates Safe Routes to School—Act Now on Vote to Save It

January 31, 2012
Today the U.S. House of Representatives released its transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, and it is devastating for bicycling and walking.  It repeals the Safe Routes to School program, removes funding for Transportation Enhancements, and has a number of other negative provisions.  The House Transportation Committee will vote Thursday, February 2, on whether to approve this bill or amend it to include bicycling and walking programs.

Signs point to transportation bill progress in coming months

January 19, 2012
Over the holidays, Senate Majority Leader Reid was quoted as saying he wants to move a transportation bill as soon as possible. However, the Senate schedule is such that February would be the earliest that action could happen, and there are several steps that must be completed first.  Both the Senate Commerce and Banking Committees must consider pieces of transportation legislation under their jurisdiction.  And, most critically, the Senate Finance Committee still needs to identify a funding source to cover the shortfall in the highway trust fund. While a number of funding options have reportedly been identified, it is unclear whether any of those options are acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.
 
In the House, there is still a great deal of interest in moving a transportation bill quickly, but again, February seems the earliest possible time. But, there are still a lot of competing priorities—including the State of the Union, a longer-term fix for the payroll tax extension and resolution on the long overdue Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill—that could hold things up. The current transportation extension expires March 31, so the next few months must see a flurry of activity if we are to avoid another extension.

Whether a transportation bill does move forward before the extension deadline, it is still critical to continue our collective efforts to educate Members of Congress about the benefits of Safe Routes to School. We encourage you to be thinking now of upcoming spring launch events for your Safe Routes to School program—and make sure you invite your Senators and Representatives to attend!  See our ideas on what you can do to help sustain federal funding for Safe Routes to School. And, if you can, we’d love to see you at the National Bike Summit, where hundreds of people will be lobbying for sustained funding for bicycling and walking.