ATP draft guidelines released for comments and subgroups

SR2S_NP_vert_rgbThe Active Transportation Program is California’s new source of pedestrian, bicycle and Safe Routes to School funding from state and federal dollars. Since October, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has been busy convening stakeholder meetings and working with Caltrans to draft the guidelines for this new program.

As of November 27, preliminary draft guidelines are out and CTC staff are actively recruiting feedback.

Crafting the guidelines is no small task – Senate Bill 99, which created the Active Transportation Program, requires a number of minimum funding designations for project types and vulnerable communities, and splits the funding into three separate competitions.  (Read more about the requirements of Senate Bill 99 in our ATP fact sheet.)

In addition, the ATP must fund a wide spectrum of projects that have in the past been funded through Safe Routes to School, the Bicycle Transportation Account, the Recreational Trails Program, and the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, separately.  Scoring and comparing this range of projects, both infrastructure and non-infrastructure, from planning to construction, by the same standard through the ATP requires a lot of considerations and a potentially complicated scoring rubric.

CTC staff acknowledge that setting up this new program is a great challenge, and that they need stakeholders across the state to share their experiences with the previous grant programs and make recommendations on improvements to make the ATP effective and equitable.  This preliminary draft of the guidelines is admittedly rough, but intended as a starting point for discussion of three expert subgroups that will inform the next guidelines draft.

The three subgroups will meet over the next month (mid-Dec to mid-Jan) via conference call on the following topics:

  1. Non-infrastructure projects
  2. Planning requirements and funding
  3. Application scoring criteria and weighting

The National Partnership and our statewide partners plan to weigh in on all three subgroups, and encourage you to send comments to us (email jeanie@saferoutespartnership.org) or directly to the CTC staff (email mitchell.weiss@dot.ca.gov) before the next draft of the guidelines are released in late January.

The statewide coalition of organizations coordinated by the National Partnership submitted a letter to the CTC prior to the Thanksgiving holiday outlining specific recommendations for the draft guidelines.  We also worked with PolicyLink, California WALKS, TransForm, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and others to draft a letter with key recommendations for how disadvantaged communities are defined and considered in the ATP guidelines.

Two guidelines hearings have already been scheduled for January 22 (South) and January 29 (North) for the CTC to take public comments on the next draft. We will keep you updated here on when the next draft of guidelines is released and when we have more info to share on locations and timing for the guidelines hearings.

The guidelines development will culminate in adoption of the guidelines by the CTC in late March, with the first call for projects to follow immediately on the heels of guidelines adoption.  We encourage you to start working with your local agency and school district now to make plans to apply for Safe Routes to School project funding!

More information and periodic updates about the ATP can be found on the CTC website: http://www.catc.ca.gov/programs/ATP.htm.

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