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:

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

It’s Crunch Time for Congress
November 29, 2017: In the waning days of the year, Congress is attempting to reach agreement on federal spending levels, enact a tax package, and pass an automated vehicles framework bill.  USDOT has issued a draft strategic plan and is trying to remove consideration of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.  Learn more about all of these efforts in our latest federal policy blog

Most states make big moves on tap; some squander TAP funds
October 25, 2017: The numbers are in for state DOT usage of the Transportation Alternatives program (TAP).  Between July and September 2017, the large majority of states moved forward on hundreds of Safe Routes to School, biking and walking projects.  Unfortunately, 15 states either let funding expire after failing to use it for four years, or transferred more funding away from TAP into road and bridge projects—nearly $60 million in squandered funds that could have improved safety for kids and families walking and biking.  Read our federal policy blog to see how your state performed.

Woodall Amendment Compromises Local Control of Transportation Dollars
September 28, 2017: The House recently approved the Woodall amendment, which would be harmful to local access to transportation projects such as biking, walking and Safe Routes to School.  Learn more in our federal policy blog, and ask your local officials to contact Congress to oppose this amendment!  We’ve also got updates on health care, the infrastructure package, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Crunch time for congress and the states
SEptember 5, 2017: After spending August in their districts, Members of Congress face a packed agenda in September.  Read our federal policy blog for more on plans to move forward on federal transportation spending, tax reform, and infrastructure.  It's also a critical time for states: they must use $130 million in TAP funding by the end of September or lose it.

Congressional Confusion: Tax Cuts or infrastructure up Next?
July 31, 2017: 
The latest version of the health care repeal bill is down for the count after the Senate voted against moving forward, leaving the Prevention Fund intact for the time being. The big question is what does Congress move on to now? There is a lot of pressure on Republicans to deliver some sort of big legislative priority. Read our federal policy blog for more details.

Fits and Starts on Infrastructure and Health Care legislation
June 28, 2017:
The Trump administration tried to call attention to its infrastructure proposal by holding an “infrastructure week,” and the majority of members of Congress responded by sending a letter supporting a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund instead.  The Senate has also put off a vote on its health care bill, which would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health fund.  Learn more in our federal policy blog.

Proposed 2018 Trump Budget includes Infrastructure proposal, detrimental cuts
May 24, 2017: The Trump administration released its proposed 2018 budget, which includes cuts across programs and agencies supportive of healthy communities and physical activity.  It also includes "principles" for the much-discussed infrastructure package that focus on "high-priority" projects in jurisdictions that are raising local revenue for transportation. Read our federal policy blog for more details and what's next. 

States get two new ways to avoid spending money on biking and walking
May 12, 2017:
Obligation may sound like a technical term, but it measures the value each state places on the safety of people biking and walking.  States that are slow to implement the Transportation Alternatives Program and get money in the hands of local communities can lose TAP through the expiration of the funds, or through a new rescission Congress has passed. Learn more in our federal policy blog.  

Ask Congress to join in Vision Zero
March 27, 2017: Legislation introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) aims to make it possible for more communities to take the Vision Zero pledge.  Learn more and take action!

new look at state and local campaigns for safe routes to school funding
March 2, 2017:
In partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, we examined six state or local funding campaigns for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking to identify key factors for success. 

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.

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

March 29, 2017: Next up for Congress: Government funding and taxes
March 1, 2017: Consulting the crystal ball on infrastructure
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