Federal Policy

A key focus of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is to serve as an advocate for Safe Routes to School and related issues with Congress and the federal government and to monitor implementation of Safe Routes to School funding. Because Safe Routes to School affects communities in so many ways, our legislative priorities include transportation, education, health, and the environment.

Below you will find the latest information on the National Partnership’s legislative priorities and calls to action. You can explore the links on the left for detailed information on the current federal transportation law (the FAST Act), state implementation, and background on the legislative history.  For a comprehensive search of all our resources, conduct an advanced search of our resource library.

FAST Act Background and Resources

In December 2015, Congress passed a transportation law, the FAST Act, that locks in five years of funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. Background on the law, the changes it makes to the Transportation Alternatives Program, and its impact on Safe Routes to School is available in our FAST Act Background and Resources.

Latest News and Information:

Consulting the crystal ball on infrastructure
March 1, 2017:
More than one month into the Trump administration, we take a look at the President's promises to invest in infrastructure spending and the barriers that must be solved first.  Read more in our federal policy blog

USDOT Acknowledges We Should Measure People, Not Just Cars
January 13, 2017:
USDOT has significantly revamped their proposed system performance measures to account for the role that biking, walking and transit play in getting people out of cars and reducing congestion. This is a big shift from their first draft, which focused nearly exclusively on car speeds and vehicle travel times. Thank you to everyone who weighed in to request changes and to USDOT for listening.  Learn more in our federal policy blog.

Hold STate DOTs Accountable in Using TAP funding
January 4, 2017: 
Congress has reconvened and is getting organized, appointing new committee members and preparing to consider President-Elect Trump's nominees to head various agencies. Now is a good time to focus on your state's spending priorities. Our most recent quarterly tracking report on the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) shows a big jump in funds transferred away from biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School and into roads. Plus, 12 states transferred funds for the first time. This is very troubling, and we call upon advocates to ask your DOT to reverse these transfers. Read more in our federal policy blog.

ELECTION RESULTS: What It Means for Safe Routes to School and Healthy Communities
December 1, 2016: 
There is a lot to digest from the results of the 2016 elections. Read our federal policy blog for more about key changes in members of Congress, the next Transportation Secretary, and policies that might be on tap in 2017—and how it could impact Safe Routes to School and healthy communities.

usdot sets ambitious goals for biking and walking

September 29, 2016:  The Federal Highway Administration within USDOT has issued an exciting new Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation, which has a goal of eliminating biking and walking fatalities within 30 years and increasing short trips made by foot or bike by 50 percent.  They outline a number of priorities that would help infuse active transportation into all levels of transportation agencies and planning.  Learn more in our federal policy blog.

A Primer on NHTSA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Dollars

May 25, 2016: In addition to the Transportation Alternatives Program, there are other federal funding streams that can help address safety issues.  In this month's federal policy blog, we focus on understanding the 402 and 405 grants, which provide federal dollars to improve safety in each state.

Measuring Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety: USDOT Says it Matters

March 23, 2016: The US Department of Transportation has released a new safety performance measure that requires states to set targets each year for reducing deaths and injuries--including for non-motorized users. Read our new federal policy blog to get a better understanding about how the rule works, and how it can help influence the spending of billions of dollars for safety.

Older News

September 19, 2016: Sign on to support a significant investment in physical activity
SEptember 7, 2016:
States obligate $120 million in TAP funds, but transfer $120 million away from the program; Safe Routes funds nearly maxed out
August 31, 2016:
Thousands tell USDOT to count people not cars; AASHTO says your opinion shouldn't matter
July 27, 2016:
Take a look at the transportation platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties
June 29, 2016:
Learn more about our 2016 Making Strides report cards and how they rate states on implementation of TAP
June 18, 2016: States obligate $86 million in TAP funds; small progress with Safe Routes funds
May 17, 2016:
USDOT issues new guidance for the Transportation Alternatives Program
April 27, 2016:
Tell USDOT that we should measure people, not just cars!
March 31, 2016:
New state report cards score states on physical activity policies and funding
March 23, 2016:
States access new TAP funds; old Safe Routes funds dwindle
February 24, 2016:
The details on Transportation Alternatives Program Funding for 2016
January 14, 2016:
Listen to our webinar on the impact of the FAST Act on Safe Routes to School
January 6, 2016:
A new year, a new transportation law: What now?
December 15, 2015:
States obligate significant TAP dollars; finish out remaining Safe Routes commitments
December 3, 2015:
Congress locks in funding for Safe Routes with passage of the FAST Act, a new five-year transportation bill
November 1, 2015:
Speak up to protect Safe Routes funding!
October 20, 2015:
House transportation bill on the move
October 2, 2015:
House transportation bill coming soon?
September 29, 2015:
A new publication demonstrates how MPOs can advance Safe Routes to School using TAP funds.
September 18, 2015:
States on a roll with TAP funds; remaining Safe Routes funds shrinking
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015:
Act now: Funding for bicycling and walking needs your support!
AUGUST 28, 2015:
House transportation bill on tap for September
JULY 30, 2015:
Congress punts transportation until fall
JULY 24, 2015:
Senate  inches forward on transportation bill
JULY 16, 2015:
House and Senate on different paths for transportation
JUNE 22, 2015:
Senate committee unveils DRIVE Act; Needs more to support bicycling and walking
JUNE 10, 2015:
House rejects amendment to limit safe routes to transit
JUNE 5, 2015:
Safe Routes to School allocations top $1 billion; states keep moving on TAP funds
MAY 26, 2015:
Federal transportation bill extended again
APRIL 29, 2015:
Momentum builds for Transportation Alternatives bill
APRIL 7, 2015:
Broad support for the Transportation Alternatives Program
MARCH 25, 2015:
Ask your Senator: Speak up for Safe Routes to School
MARCH 19, 2015:
Two new bills advance funding and safety for Safe Routes to School, bicycling, and walking
MARCH 17, 2015:
States receive and allocate TAP dollars; continue progress on Safe Routes to School
FEBRUARY 24, 2015:
What's at stake this spring in Congress
JANUARY 30, 2015:
Congress casts about for transportation funding solution

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