2013 Campaign – Active Transportation Program
Changes to policy affecting Safe Routes to School are afoot in Sacramento! The National Partnership is working with our partners to protect and grow funding levels for critically important programs that benefit all bicyclists and pedestrians in the state, and want to keep all stakeholders across the state informed. See below for news and actions to date:
November 18 – Active Transportation Program guidelines convenings
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) convened five open meetings around the state in October and November to discuss a slate of issues for the Active Transportation Guidelines. Local government and MPO staff, active transportation advocates, public health department staff, and other interested stakeholders weighed in on their preferences for what the guidelines should include and what the process should be for awarding projects at the state and regional levels.
National Partnership staff participated in all of the guidelines meetings to date and is working with a statewide coalition to submit written recommendations to the CTC.
CTC staff will work with Caltrans to draft the guidelines over the next month, and will provide an update at the Dec 12 CTC meeting in Riverside. Following the release of the draft guidelines in December or January, there will be another opportunity for public input. The final guidelines must be submitted to the Legislature for review before they are adopted by the CTC.
Keep an eye on this space for our key comments to the CTC. Please share your comments with us anytime on concerns or ideas from your community that could improve the Active Transportation Program.
September 27 – Active Transportation Program signed into law by Governor Brown
After eight months of stakeholder negotiations with the Governor’s Administration and the Legislature, a compromise was reached for the Active Transportation Program that will continue dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School to the tune of $24 million per year. Governor Brown signed SB-99 to enact the new program with the support of statewide advocates.
The Active Transportation Program will increase statewide funding for walking and bicycling by 35% to $130 million per year, and require that 25% of all funding benefit disadvantaged communities. The California Transportation Commission will begin the guidelines process through the fall of 2013, with an initial call for projects anticipated in early summer 2014.
August 15 and 16 – SRTS Advocacy Day and Final Active Transportation Program stakeholder meeting
Local and statewide advocates convened in the Capitol on the final day of the Safe Routes to School National Conference in Sacramento to meet with 65 state legislative members and staff. Advocates encouraged legislators to support strong provisions in the Active Transportation Program to ensure funds benefit Safe Routes to School projects and disadvantaged communities.
The following day, stakeholder participants in the Transportation Agency-led work group met to review draft legislation for the Active Transportation Program. The ATP bill is expected to be in print the week of Aug 26 and will need to be passed by the Legislature before the end of session in September.
July 8 and 23 – Transportation Agency-led stakeholder meetings for the Active Transportation Program
Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly convened a small group of active transportation, trails, health equity, and regional/local agency stakeholders to lay out principles for funding of an active transportation program. The first meeting focused on the funding platform for the program, including a discussion of guaranteed set-asides for Safe Routes to School and for disadvantaged communities. In the second meeting stakeholders discussed key issues around the existing programs and the best compromise options to preserve the benefits of the existing programs through program consolidation.
June 15 – Governor’s adopted state budget suspends 2013-14 funds
A last-minute decision by the joint Assembly and Senate Budget Conference Committee on the evening of June 10 reversed decisions by the budget subcommittees to continue funding Safe Routes to School and the other state programs that fund bicycle and pedestrian projects for the next fiscal year. The budget bill, adopted and signed by Governor Brown on June 15, suspends funding for these programs pending the formation of a stakeholder group by Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly to reach a compromise on a combined active transportation program. The budget bill requires that the stakeholder group be convened and legislation to enact the active transportation program be passed by August 31st.
May 30 – AB-1194 passes full Assembly 76-2
Assembly Bill 1194 (Ammiano) passed off the Assembly floor by an overwhelming 76-2 (with two no-votes coming from republicans Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks and Shannon Grove of Bakersfield). Members in both houses of the Legislature and on both sides of the aisle demonstrated broad support for ensuring California communities continue to receive Safe Routes to School funding. AB-1194 now moves to the Senate for review in committee and vote and will eventually go to the Governor’s desk for passage in September.
May 24 – Assembly Appropriations Committee passes AB-1194 13-0
AB-1194 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee by unanimous vote and moved to the Assembly floor for passage to the Senate. An amendment by the committee removed a provision which would guarantee continuous program funding at $46 million for all future years, but the structure of the program and funding for non-infrastructure and technical assistance were maintained.
May 22 – Active Transportation Program proposal stalled in budget subcommittees
A strong group of advocates spoke in the budget subcommittee hearings on both the Assembly and Senate side on May 22, and the members responded supportively. On the Assembly side, Assemblywoman Campos expressed particular concern for Safe Routes to School based on her experience with the program during her local government tenure. On the Senate side, Senator and Committee Chairman Beall expressed desperation that two children in his district had been killed in the last month outside of schools, and spoke passionately on the importance of this issue. Senator Beall added that in his personal experience as a county supervisor in San Jose, the comprehensive 5 E’s approach to Safe Routes to School was critical to program success.
After public comments and discussion by the members, the subcommittees voted to reject the Governor’s ATP proposal as written in the budget bill, but to keep the concept of the Active Transportation Program alive through a placeholder in the budget bill to allow negotiations to continue between the Transportation Agency, the Legislature, and advocates. The goal of more negotiations is to craft a program that will be more effective in building bike/ped and Safe Routes to School projects without losing the best aspects of the existing programs. The budget subcommittees also voted to keep the current number of staff at Caltrans Local Assistance that currently manage bike/ped program grants (the Governor’s proposal would cut 5 positions), and to ensure that funding continues to flow to existing programs this fiscal year until the new program is created.
The Governor’s budget must be adopted by June 15, so a compromise on the Active Transportation Program should be reached by that deadline and details finalized in August. Advocates will continue to appeal that dedicated funding be preserved for Safe Routes to School projects and non-infrastructure programs within the ATP.
May 1 – State Assembly Appropriations Committee hears the Safe Routes to School bill, AB-1194
AB-1194, which would maintain level funding, a state SRTS coordinator, and the Technical Assistance Resource Center for the Safe Routes to School program, is waiting for votes in the Assembly Appropriations Committee for passage to the Assembly Floor. WE NEED YOUR ORGANIZATION’S SUPPORT TODAY!
Send a letter of support for AB-1194 to the Appropriations Committee from your organization, or request one from your town/city/county. Tailor this draft letter to your local or personal experience. Get your letter in NOW before final committee votes are tallied on May 24! Please contact Jeanie@saferoutespartnership.org for more info.
We need your support to save Safe Routes to School!
May 1 – 55 organizations sign on to letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking for 15% of transportation-related Cap-and-Trade revenue invested in active transportation
The California Air Resources Board released its three year Draft Investment Plan (DIP) on April 16, which outlines a proposal for how California should spend revenues generated by Cap-and-Trade. Thanks to the countless voices that have pledged their support for active transportation, the plan lists Safe Routes to School and the Bicycle Transportation Account as eligible recipients for this funding! In mid-May, Governor Jerry Brown’s administration will outline in the May Revise of the state Budget allocations for cap-and-trade revenue to specific projects and programs.
A sign-on letter lead by the California Bicycle Coalition, California WALKS, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership with supporting signatures from 52 other organizations was sent to the Governor’s office this week. The letter outlined the importance of active transportation infrastructure to encouraging reduction of car vehicle-miles traveled and resulting greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as other safety, health, and community co-benefits. Based on the great potential of walking and bicycling to contribute to sustainable communities in California, the letter recommended that at least 15% of transportation-related cap-and-trade revenues be invested in Safe Routes to School, the Pedestrian Transportation Account, and the Bicycle Transportation Account.
Stay tuned for an update on whether the Administration took these concerns to heart when the May budget revise is released in two weeks.
April 15 – State Assembly Transportation Committee passes the Safe Routes to School bill, AB-1194, by unanimous vote 11-0!
Read a summary of the Transportation Committee hearing. AB-1194 will next advance to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for approval, likely sometime in May 2013.
January 17, 2013 - Shape California’s New Active Transportation Program for Future Generations
Sign the Petition to Governor Brown Today
Governor Brown is proposing to create a new Active Transportation Program with his 2013-14 budget to make California a leader in bicycle and pedestrian transportation, but we are asking for your support of a petition that urges the Administration to first address several concerns. The proposed new program consolidates several existing programs, including Safe Routes to School (see details below), in order to focus state investment on active transportation safety and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Join the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and a coalition of organizations to ask Governor Brown to:
1) Match 2012 funding levels initially and grow the program funds in the future,
2) Maintain minimum guarantees for Safe Routes to School, Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation, and Recreational Trails within the new program structure,
3) Ensure adequate staff at Caltrans to administer the new program, and
4) Engage stakeholders in shaping the Active Transportation Program, selecting future projects, and prioritizing social equity.
Please sign the petition today (individuals and organizations are both encouraged to sign on) and spread the word so we can get thousands of signatures!
The organizations leading this petition include: Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, TransForm, California WALKS, California Bicycle Coalition, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention.
January 10, 2013 - Governor’s Budget proposes consolidating federal and state Safe Routes to School into an Active Transportation Program
Review the proposed 2013-14 budget, including possible changes to Safe Routes to School and other bicycle and pedestrian programs.
December 19, 2012 conference call
Discussion Forum: Protecting Safe Routes to School and Increasing Investment Opportunities in Active Transportation in California
As the state decides how MAP-21 will affect key programs and looks toward more effective ways to meet statewide priorities for safety and greenhouse gas emissions targets, a new proposal has come out to streamline active transportation and Safe Routes to School funding and increase it in the future! The National Partnership has been working with other active transportation, health, and equity partners to meet with Caltrans and the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency to discuss this proposal, but we also want to hear from you!
Key documents that outline our recommendations:
- Summary Handout
- Dec 2012 sign on letter to BTH: Active Transportation Account
- Nexus for Dedicating California’s Cap and Trade Program Revenue to Active Transportation
- SRTSNP comments on revision to Statewide Transportation Needs Assessment for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure
- Nov 2012 sign on letter to Caltrans: Safe Routes to School – a Statewide Priority
- Aug 2012 sign on letter to Caltrans: California Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School – MAP-21 Program Investment Sign on Statement
December 3, 2013 Sign-on Letter to Business, Transportation and Housing Agency on Active Transportation Proposal
The coalition we are helping to lead continues to advocate for preserving and strengthening walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School and their funding opportunities in California. Eleven organizations—Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, TransForm, Transportation for America, California WALKS, California Bicycling Coalition, PolicyLink, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention—submitted a sign on letter to California Business Transportation and Housing (BTH) Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.
The letter responds to a proposal from BTH to consolidate five accounts, including the State Safe Routes to School, Federal Safe Routes to School, State Bicycle Transportation Account, Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, and the State Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, into a single Active Transportation Account. Our letter addresses the need for level funding and to emphasize walking and bicycling, to develop an account structure that preserves existing priorities, includes sufficient staffing and stakeholder input, and ensures equity in structure and funding decisions. We also emphasize the need to direct future revenue to active transportation.
View the letter here.
November 8, 2012 Sign-on Letter to Caltrans on Protecting Safe Routes to School as a Statewide Priority
Our coalition working to preserve walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School submitted a letter, signed on to by 11 organizations, urging the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to continue prioritizing Safe Routes to School.
The letter outlines five recommendations that we believe are critical to continue to advance the success of the very popular transportation and safety program, Safe Routes to School. Safe Routes to School is a community-based program which provides funding for infrastructure projects as well as public engagement, planning and educational activities – all of which promote safety. Caltrans was the first Department of Transportation in the nation to launch Safe Routes to School, due to state legislation passed in 1999. The program was expanded in 2005 thanks to federal legislation. With the flexibility in MAP-21, Caltrans has a unique opportunity to continue the Safe Routes to School program, and make it even better.
The five key recommendations and guiding principles for California’s Safe Routes to School programs outlined in the letter include:
1) Keep Level Funding: The State of California should maintain level funding for both the federal SRTS program, and the state SR2S program. The programs support important statewide goals related to improving safety, achieving health in all policies, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
2) Maintain Program Structure through Funding Source: The federal SRTS program should retain a structure where 70 percent of the funds are used for infrastructure improvements and 30 percent for non-infrastructure activities. The funding source determined should permit activities that were eligible in the past, and should ensure that the program continues to be administered by the state.
3) Continue Current Program Objectives: Since its inception SRTS has had program objectives related to both reducing injuries and fatalities and increasing mode share for walking and bicycling. These goals are accomplished through infrastructure improvements and community based planning and outreach activities. These two programmatic objectives should continue for the federally-funded Safe Routes to School program out of HSIP.
4) Maintain the Statewide Administration of the Program: Safe Routes to School should remain as a statewide program, administered by Caltrans headquarters, with project selection by Caltrans Districts.
5) Prioritize Equity: Through a June 2010 report to the Governor on equity within the Safe Routes to School program, there was a recommendation to increase funding through Safe Routes to School for lower-income communities by five percent for future funding cycles of SRTS and SR2S. This is important because lower-income schools and regions have a greater proportion of traffic safety dangers and fewer resources to resolve those problems.
View the full letter here.
August 20, 2012 Sign-on Statement for MAP-21 Active Transportation and Safe Routes to School Invesment
Through the end of 2012 and into 2013, the State Legislature and the Administration (Caltrans, Business Transportation and Housing and the Governor’s office) will be considering proposals for how to spend $3.5 billion each year in federal transportation act funds from the law MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st century. Our goal is to ensure that we don’t lose ground in our efforts to funding walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School. Let’s make sure that we truly do move ahead in California!
We’re moving fast to secure funding for active transportation in CA – In less than a week, over 130 organizations signed on to a statement to save CA funding for walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School. Thank you for your quick and strong support!
In Sacramento, Assembly Speaker Perez introduced a bill on MAP-21 implementation in CA, SB 1027: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/billtrack/text.html?bvid=20110SB102797AMD – this bill is just a “marker” for discussion – the legislation was not intended to move in the 2012 session, which has now ended. The Speaker’s office will likely be recruiting comments in January for the 2013 legislative season.
In addition, CalTrans is working on a proposal that will be incorporated into legislation next year. They came out with an initial proposal that can be found here, part 1, and part 2. CalTrans has formed a working group that will work on what is ultimately produced. Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership was appointed to this committee.
We need the State of California to keep federal funds for Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails level from fiscal year 2012 allocations, $106 million/year. This is only 3% of the MAP-21 budget while walking and bicycling represent 15% of trips and 27% of fatalities in the state of California. Thanks again for your support!
August 16, 2012 Webinar on MAP-21 Updates in California
We are working to keep the lines of communication open between concerned Californians and advocates in Sacramento about policy decisions as they are being discussed, and will continue to do this until this process is completed. On August 16, we and our allies held a webinar on what Map-21 means for active transportation funding in California and what we can do to change things. A presentation by Deb Hubsmith can be found here.