SCAG Recommends Active Transportation Policies but No Funding Changes

At the March 21st Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG’s) Joint  Policy Committees’ meeting, committee members recommend that the Final Draft of the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategies (RTP/SCS) be adopted at the upcoming April 5th General Assembly.  Active transportation and public health advocates once again made up the overwhelimng majority of speakers during the public comment period demanding additional funding and planning for active transportation.

Unfortunately, despite the repeated input from the public, the proposed final version of the RTP/SCS allocates a mere $6.7 billion dollars for active transportation over the next 25 years.  This amounts to a mere 1.3% of the total RTP/SCS budget despite the fact that active transportation accounts for 21% of all trips in the SCAG region and that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health estimates that the true need is in the range of $40 billion.

Even though the Final Draft of the 2012 RTP/SCS did not provide a significant increase in funding levels for active transportation, SCAG has made it clear that it supports increasing funding levels in future RTPs.  To ensure that SCAG has a better understanding of the active transportation needs throughout the region during the drafting of the 2016 RTP/SCS, the Joint Policy Committee, led by Alan Wapner of Ontario and Michele Martinez from Santa Ana, introduced a motion (linked here) drafted by Move LA, the American Lung Association in California, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

The motion directs SCAG staff to:

  • Provide technical assistance for active transportation regional planning efforts through an Active transportation Strategic Funding Plan, a Regional Complete Streets Plan, and a Regional Safe Routes to School Plan.
  • Identify resources to enhance Metrolink,
  • Improve clean goods movement system,
  • Expand the Compass Blueprint Demonstration Project grant program, and
  • Develop specific health and equity performance metrics to track the health of the region.

The motion was recommended for approval to the April 4th General Assembly with a 47-0 vote. This action by Regional Council members signal the potential for significant changes in the level of funding for active transportation in the next RTP/SCS in 2016.

Next step for the motion is the SCAG Regional Conference & General Assembly held April 4-5. The Regional Council will convene during the conference on April 4th to vote for the motion and budget active transportation policy work into SCAG’s Overall Work Plan (OWP).  The public may sign up for free and should speak up about active transportation to ensure motion containing the active transportation policies passes. Conference fees only apply to participants who want food and beverages.

Please review and sign on to our comment letter on the OWP budget which proposes spending $1 million over 2 years dedicated to active transportation planning, linked here.

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