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:

2018 Election Results: What do they mean for active transportation?
November 15, 2018: 
The votes are (mostly) in, and Democrats gained the majority in the House and Republicans retained the majority in the Senate. Read our latest federal policy blog for more on key transportation leaders and what's on tap for 2019.

October 23, 2018:
With Congress in recess till after the November elections, we are focusing on how states are handling their Transportation Alternatives Program allocations. This quarter, states obligated nearly $300 million to get hundreds of walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School programs and infrastructure projects moving. Unfortunately, we did see several states transfer money away from TAP to other transportation projects, but only 3 states failed to use all their money by the deadline. All in all, we celebrate the $2.4 billion in TAP funding that is making biking and walking safer and more accessible nationwide.  

Progress on Spending Bills; Concerns on Automated Vehicles bill
SEptember 26, 2018: 
Congress has reached agreement on health and education spending, but transportation spending decisions have been pushed until December. Check out our federal policy blog for the latest, as well as our concerns on legislation governing automated vehicles.

Shuster proposal sets stage for transportation reauthoriazation
July 26, 2018: The House transportation committee chair, Rep. Shuster (R-PA) has released an infrastructure discussion draft that floats ideas for solving the transportation funding shortfall. His ideas may help shape the next transportation bill—work on that will start in earnest in 2019. Learn more about the proposal and the next reauthorization in our latest federal policy blog.

States Buckle Down on Spending TAP; Some States Risk Losing Funds
July 16, 2018: This quarter we look at state progress in implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program.  States obligated $131 million in TAP funding; however 14 states are at risk of losing significant TAP dollars.

State Report Cards: A Tool to Improve TAP in your state
July 9, 2018:
Check out this month's federal policy blog for ideas on how to use the 2018 Making Strides State Report Cards to improve how your state uses its Transportation Alternatives Program funds!

Federal Policy Hodgepodge: Transportation spending, GHG Rule, and Updated State Ratings!
June 4, 2018:  This month, our federal policy blog includes updates on the FY19 appropriations process, which is moving quickly with ample funding; USDOT’s short-sighted decision to stop measuring transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions; and make your plans now for the June release of our 2018 state report cards on walking, biking and physical activity! 

Different Name, Similar Program:  TIGER MORPHS INTO BUILD
April 30, 2018:
In this month’s federal update, learn more about changes to the US Department of Transportation’s TIGER program, which is being renamed the BUILD program--and how the $1.5 billion available could go to Complete Streets projects in your community. Also in this month’s federal update: the Trump administration tries to retroactively cut the FY2018 funding levels for programs and our quarterly report on how states are doing with implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program.  

Congress rejects big budget cuts
March 26, 2018:
Congress has finally set the FY18 spending levels and it includes great news for several transportation and healthy communities initiatives that had been slated for major cuts. Read more in this month’s federal policy blog

White House Releases Backwards Infrastructure Package and Spending Priorities
February 12, 2018:
The White House today released their outline for the infrastructure package and the proposed FY2019 budget.  Unfortunately, the proposals would cut funding for essential transportation programs in favor of funding infrastructure projects based on their financing rather than their impact on mobility, safety, and equity. Learn more in our federal policy blog

What We Value for Any Infrastructure Package
February 5, 2018:
In the State of the Union, President Trump gave a few details about how a new infrastructure package would build new roads and bridges across the country.  While we are withholding judgement until we see the full proposal, read our federal policy blog to learn about our values and goals for any new federal investment in transportation.

Congress kicked the can to January
January 3, 2018: Before adjourning for the holidays, Congress completed work on the tax bill but punted the decisions on federal spending levels to January.  Learn more about the final impact of the tax bill on transportation, unfortunate reductions in the Prevention Fund, and renewed interest in an infrastructure package in our latest 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

NOVEMBER 29, 2017: It's crunch time (again) for Congress
October 25, 2017:
Most states make big moves on TAP; some squander TAP funds
September 28, 2017:
Woodall amendment compromises local control of transportation dollars
September 5, 2017:
Crunch time for Congress and the states
July 31, 2017:
Congressional confusion: tax cuts or infrastructure up next?
June 28, 2017:
Fits and starts on infrastructure and health care legislation
May 24, 2017:
Proposed 2018 Trump Budget includes infrastructure proposal, detrimental cuts
May 12, 2017:
States get two new ways to avoid spending money on biking and walking
March 29, 2017:
Next up for Congress: Government funding and taxes
March 27, 2017: Ask Congress to join in Vision Zero
March 1, 2017:
Consulting the crystal ball on infrastructure
January 13, 2017:
USDOT acknowledges we should measure people, not just cars
January 4, 2017:
States transfer millions in TAP funding; hold your state accountable 
December 1, 2016: 
Election results: what it means for Safe Routes to School and healthy communities
September 29, 2016:  FHWA's new Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation sets goals to eliminate biking and walking fatalities in 30 years
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

Legislative Archives