Governor Brown's Administration Proposes to End Dedicated Funding for Popular Safe Routes to School Program; Advocates Fight Back

Governor Brown's Administration Proposes to End Dedicated Funding for Popular Safe Routes to School Program; Advocates Fight Back

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, February 4, 2013

Contact:

Gearing Up: What's Next on the Federal Transportation Bill

Gearing Up: What's Next on the Federal Transportation Bill

A Message to Supporters of Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation
July 26, 2012

We are not going to let 20 years of progress in bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School come to a halt!

It’s true that the new transportation bill, MAP-21, slashed guaranteed funding for bicycling and walking. But thanks to you and thousands of individual advocates who called, wrote, and e-mailed Congress as the bill was being written, we are still very much in the game.

The America Bikes coalition, of which the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a member, is committed to working with advocates and state and local organizations to ensure that states and local governments use every opportunity in the new law to increase the safety and convenience of bicycling and walking.

Together, we can maximize bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School investments — both under MAP-21’s new Transportation Alternatives program and the larger core transportation and safety funds.

We expect every state to:

  • Fully fund, staff, and implement the new Transportation Alternatives program. Specifically, states should:
    • Fully fund: Do not transfer any funds away from Transportation Alternatives or opt-out of the Recreational Trails program
    • Fully staff: Preserve or increase staff support for Transportation Alternatives by maintaining state Safe Routes to School coordinators and bike/ped coordinators
    • Fully implement: Promptly award Transportation Alternatives grants with participation of relevant stakeholders
  • Fully maximize the state’s investments in safe, accessible streets: utilize all MAP-21 funding programs — including HSIP, CMAQ, and STP — to include biking and walking in all transportation projects
  • Fully spend remaining funds from the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs

We are working closely with our partners to develop an action plan to coordinate our efforts for the best results in every state. Together, we are already working on a suite of tools and resources to help advocates ensure that states and communities take full advantage of MAP-21. We will alert you as those resources become available.

With your help and dedication over the coming weeks and months, the national renaissance in Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking will continue in communities all across the country.

Thank you for your commitment.

Sincerely,

Deb Hubsmith, Director
Safe Routes to School National Partnership


For more information on MAP-21, see our MAP-21 Resource Center.

Statement on the New Transportation Bill

       America Bikes and Safe Routes to School National Partnership
   Statement on New Transportation Bill

The America Bikes coalition — representing the nation’s leading bicycling and walking groups — and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership oppose the new transportation bill, which would nationally cut funding for biking and walking projects by 60 to 70 percent.

We are deeply concerned that bicycling and walking programs suffer large and disproportionate cuts in funding in the new bill. Programs that save lives and dollars are eliminated.

The full extent of cuts to biking and walking funding will be determined at the state level and may be even deeper. We will continue to work in states and local communities to support safe, accessible streets.

The new transportation bill is a bad bill for biking and walking. This bill:

Cuts available biking and walking funds by 60 to 70 percent. Biking and walking programs are combined into a single program, Transportation Alternatives, with drastically reduced funding.

Eliminates dedicated Safe Routes to School funding. The bill eliminates dedicated funding for the massively popular and cost-effective Safe Routes to School program, which helps make walking and biking to school safer for millions of American schoolchildren.

Weakens local control. The new transportation bill allows states to opt-out of half of the funds potentially available for small-scale biking and walking projects. Whereas the bi-partisan Senate bill allowed local governments and planning entities to compete for 1% of transportation funds, the new bill allows states to opt-out of the local grant program completely.

Makes biking and walking compete with new, expensive eligibilities. Eligibilities such as road uses and environmental mitigation have been added to Transportation Alternatives, making it harder for local communities to compete for funding for local biking and walking projects.

This two-year bill represents a major step backwards in transportation policy for transportation choices and healthy physical activity. Despite this temporary setback in national policy, bicycling and walking will continue to grow and gain support, and Americans will continue to demand safer, more accessible streets and communities. Going forward, biking and walking will return to a central place in America’s transportation policies and programs.



For more information: You can also download this statement in PDF, view specific information on the impact of the bill on Safe Routes to School, read the America Bike's press release and review a comparison of the bicycling and walking provisions from current law and MAP-21.

Decisions are Underway, Ask Congress to Protect Funding for Sidewalks and Bikeways

Decisions are Underway, Ask Congress to Protect Funding for Sidewalks and Bikeways

An overwhelming majority of Americans—including large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans—support federal funding for bicycling and walking.  It doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.

Senators and Representatives are meeting now to create a final transportation bill, and we need your help to protect the hard-fought Cardin-Cochran agreement.  Without this agreement, states will be able to use bicycling and walking funds towards more highway lanes.  Contact your Senators and Representatives today to ask them to preserve this bipartisan agreement so that communities can access funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.

Just two months ago, the Senate passed a transportation bill that included the Cardin-Cochran agreement. This bipartisan compromise would ensure that local governments and school systems are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible.  Your local leaders—mayors, city councilors and county officials—know what your community’s transportation needs are, and the Cardin-Cochran amendment  helps ensure they can compete for funding to make those improvements.

Funding for bicycling and walking has popular support—a recent Princeton survey found that 83 percent of Americans support federal funds for sidewalks and bike lanes. Local elected officials across the country want to respond to their constituents, and need federal funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks.

Will you help us get the message to Congress? You can help in two ways:

  1. Ask your Senators and Representatives to maintain the Cardin-Cochran agreement, which gives local governments a voice in transportation planning.
  2. Ask your mayor or other local elected official to send a letter of support to your Senators and Representative for the Cardin-Cochran agreement. A sample letter with instructions is available in Word or PDF format.

Take Action

Thank you for standing up to tell Congress that Americans support funding for bicycling and walking.

Pages