This post has been edited to clarify the difference between unobligated funds and awarded funds.
Now that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) has been signed into law, we are seeing a flurry of excitement about what it means for Safe Routes to School, walking, and bicycling. And we are also seeing uncertainty about what the law requires and what it offers related to Safe Routes to School. In particular, the section that restored the Safe Routes to School program is leading to confusion for advocates and agencies alike. We are here to help you make sense of it what it means, why it happened like this, and what to do about it.
On November 5, 2021, the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. The Senate passed the bill in August, which means it now advances to President Biden to sign into law. Colloquially referred to as “the infrastructure bill”, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 is a monumental investment in the safety and support of people walking and bicycling.
While Democrats continue to iron out negotiations on Build Back Better, the partisan human-infrastructure bill, Congress passed another short-term extension for surface transportation on October 28th. This extension runs through December 3, 2021. As a reminder, these short-term extensions keep funding levels and policy unchanged.
On Sunday, August 1, 2021, a bipartisan group of Senators released the final bill text for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bill reauthorizes transportation funding through 2026 and incorporates priorities originally identified in President Biden’s American Jobs Act. It is currently being debated and amended on the Senate floor. We will continue to update this post as developments occur.
Two key points:
Last week the House of Representatives passed a five-year, $715 billion dollar transportation reauthorization bill called the INVEST in America Act. The bill includes significant increases in funding for Safe Routes to School, and reinstates the requirement for each state to have a full time Safe Routes to School Coordinator. On a broader level, it also increases funding for bicycling and walking overall, and has a stronger focus on Complete Streets and safety for vulnerable road users.