We are pleased to announce that Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) has joined with seven other House Democrats (Reps. Brownley-CA, Espaillat-NY, Lipinski-IL, Cohen-TN, Huffman-CA, Titus-NV, and Carson-IN) to introduce the Safe Routes to School Expansion Act, HR 5891.
The legislation proposes making several improvements to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which is funded at nearly $2.4 billion per year. The bill would:
- Make Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects eligible for HSIP, replacing very limited language focused just on school zone signage and signals.
- Add in eligibility within HSIP for infrastructure to improve safety for people walking and biking to bus stops – such as sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, and bus stop shelters.
- Once again allows states to use up to 25 percent of their HSIP funding for safety campaigns and other non-infrastructure – which would include Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure (such as encouragement programming and education) and campaigns around school bus safety.
- Adds educational officials to the list of entities states must consult when doing their safety planning so that Safe Routes to School issues will be considered.
- Modifies the federal share requirements so that biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School projects can be done entirely with federal funds, without requiring a local match.
The Safe Routes Partnership is honored to have worked with Rep. Brown and the other cosponsors to craft this legislation. We look forward to working with them to push for the inclusion of this language in the next transportation bill. The Safe Routes to School Expansion Act is a perfect fit with our other key legislative asks:
- HR 5231, the Transportation Alternatives Enhancements Act, would increase funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program, one of the key funding sources for Safe Routes projects
- HR 3040, the Safe and Friendly for the Environment (SAFE) Streets Act, would get more Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding spent on making biking and walking safety.
- And now, with HR 5891-the Safe Routes to School Expansion Act, more of that HSIP money that will be available for biking and walking safety could go to a range of Safe Routes to School projects.
Our thanks also go to the League of American Bicyclists, PeopleForBikes, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for their support.