Congressional supporters have introduced two new pieces of legislation to advance funding and safety for bicycling and walking. The Safe Routes Partnership is pleased to support both bills.
First is the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, S. 705, which introduced by Senators Cochran (R-MS) and Cardin (D-MD). This bill is critical to protecting the federal investment in Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking and ensuring that all modes are supported by our transportation system. Each year, more than $800 million is allocated to states and MPOs through the Transportation Alternatives Program for Safe Routes to School projects, sidewalks, trails and other bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
The legislation would:
- Give states the flexibility to meet federal cost-sharing requirements across the entire program, which will allow lower matching requirements for lower-resourced communities to be offset by higher matches from larger communities within a state;
- Make nonprofits and small MPOs eligible to compete for funding;
- Shift a greater portion of TAP funds to be allocated by population, making sure that resources are fairly distributed among rural areas, mid-sized suburban areas and large metropolitan areas;
- Remove a provision that creates extra regulatory hurdles that delay projects; and
- Restore the 30 percent of funding cut that was cut from 2012 funding levels.
You can download a fact sheet on the legislation for more information. You can take action to ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705 with just a few minutes of your time. With your collective voices, we can show broad support in Congress to sustain and strengthen the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The second new bill is the Vision Zero Act, HR 1274, which was introduced by Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Buchanan (R-FL). This Act would help provide funding to support the Vision Zero movement around the country, which focuses on eliminating all traffic fatalities. A growing list of cities around the country have adopted Vision Zero, including New York City, San Francisco and Washington DC. It seeks to reframe how we think about transportation safety so that every traffic fatality is viewed as unacceptable, and that we prioritize transportation safety improvements that prevent deaths. HR 1274 would provide $30 million in grants each year to help communities develop Vision Zero plans or to implement already existing Vision Zero plans.
The Safe Routes Partnership will be talking about both bills as we meet with Congressional offices to build support, in hopes that the provisions from both bills can be included in the next transportation bill.