It seems like an eternity since the new transportation law, MAP-21, was passed by Congress. But, it has been just two months—and we are now one month away from October 1, when the MAP-21 provisions go into effect. Rather than simply waiting for your state department of transportation to announce how they will operate Safe Routes to School, I wanted to give you some concrete action items for the next month. This will help you take ownership over the fate of Safe Routes to School and your program.
1. Get informed about MAP-21. We’ve put out a lot of resources on what MAP-21 is and how it affects Safe Routes to School. If you’ve tuned out so far, take some time to study up. All our resources are posted on our MAP-21 Resource Center. In particularl, take an hour to watch our webinar on the Safe Routes to School impacts of MAP-21. If you are coming to the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference next week, come to our Annual Meeting or one of two Pro Walk Pro Bike sessions on Navigating MAP-21.
2. Join the fight in your state to save bike/ped/Safe Routes to School funding. We are partnering with Advocacy Advance to make sure every state fully uses their Transportation Alternatives funds and spends remaining Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funds. Nearly all states have a lead contact identified who is spearheading the effort. Get in touch with your state’s contact and help with sign-on letters, media and meetings with high-level state officials.
3. Invite elected officials to a local Safe Routes to School event. Make sure that your mayor, school board members, MPO staff and more can see your program in action. This can help ensure they support your program when you apply for future funding or help advocate for the state to keep funding Safe Routes to School. We’ve got tools to help you – watch our September 6 webinar and see our newly revised toolkit, both on engaging elected officials through meetings and events.
4. Learn about other transportation funding sources. As discussed in our MAP-21 webinar, there are opportunities for states to fund Safe Routes to School out of other transportation programs, including the Surface Transportation Program (STP), the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program (CMAQ). We will share more information as it becomes available, but for now you can learn the basics about these programs and review these excellent resources from the League of American Bicyclists.
5. Stay tuned. Over the next month, we will likely learn more from the US Department of Transportation about key questions on Safe Routes to School implementation, such as the federal match and the Safe Routes to School coordinators. And, information will start to trickle out from various states about how they will implement MAP-21, which will affect when and how funds will be available for Safe Routes to School. So, keep checking our MAP-21 Resource Center or subscribe to our blogs for updates.
For more information on MAP-21, see our MAP-21 Resource Center.