2014 Legislative Archives

This page includes archives of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership's legislative actions in 2014.  Since this is a historical archive, links may not work.  Current information on our legislative priorities is available on our National webpage. You may also visit our legislative archives by year.

Legislative Archives 2014

TAP funding flying while SAFETEA-LU continues inching its way towards the finish line

December 12, 2014: There are some very positive numbers in this quarter’s State of the States reports.  First, nearly a quarter of all Transportation Alternatives funding for FY13 and 14 has now been obligated. That’s more than $300 million in dedicated funding for walking and bicycling projects across the nation in the last two years. And critically, $180 million has been announced by states for Safe Routes to School projects from TAP and other MAP-21 funds. That’s a positive sign that Safe Routes to School is competing well against other eligibilities in the Transportation Alternatives Program and other federal transportation sources.

Unfortunately it’s not all great news.  States have transferred an additional $20 million out of TAP since the prior quarter.  While a portion of those funds may still be going towards bicycle and pedestrian projects, a good portion won’t, making it important that state advocates put pressure on their states not to transfer TAP funding. 

Looking at dedicated funds for Safe Routes to School in the remaining SAFETEA-LU funding, awards and obligations continue to move towards the magic 100 percent number that we would all love to see reached.  With slight upticks in spending within both categories, 87 percent of SAFETEA-LU funding has now been announced, and 72 percent is obligated. 

Have a look at both reports here:

TAP State of the States

SAFETEA-LU State of the States

In the Wake of the Midterm Elections, Some Big Changes Coming to Capitol Hill

The results of the November 4th elections were exactly what pollsters and political prognosticators had been indicating since early summer: a number of Republican pickups in the House, and enough wins in the Senate to take control for the first time since 2008. You can read more about the changes coming to Congress and what that might mean for walking and biking programs in our latest federal policy blog.   

Two New National Partnership Publications Highlight Federal Safe Routes to School Policy

December 2, 2014: This week, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership published a new policy report with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, entitled Safe Routes to School: How States are Adapting to a New Legislative FrameworkAdditionally, we updated our Snapshot of State Implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Program. While both provide a still incomplete picture of how Safe Routes to School is faring under the now two-year-old Transportation Alternatives Program, the report in particular gives some reason for optimism. You can read more about both reports, with our analasys on this month's federal policy blog.

New State of the States Report will look at TAP Spending Alongside Dedicated Safe Routes to School Funding From SAFETEA-LU

September 24, 2014: MAP-21, our nation’s surface transportation law, folded dedicated Safe Routes to School funding into the new Transportation Alternatives Program along with a number of other eligibilities.  Beginning this quarter, we will now be publishing two State of the State reports, looking at the remaining dedicated funding from SAFETEA-LU, and the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

This quarter’s SAFETEA-LU report shows a slight increase in new funding obligated for Safe Routes to School projects, at $25,135,632, bringing total obligations to 70%  Unfortunately, only $8,344,076 in new awards have been announced, making an ongoing focus on getting the last 14% of awards out the door critical. One bit of good news: between federal and state funds, more than $1 billion have been announced for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation!

Our first TAP report shows that states have made some progress in rolling out TAP funding, with 17% of funds ($217,693,441) now obligated.  In total, $52,338,024 has been announced for Safe Routes to School Projects from MAP-21 funding.  However, this total includes other pots of federal money, including HSIP, STP, CMAQ .  Of note, a total spending on Safe Routes to School projects is unknown in a number of states.  We are hopeful that this report will show a more complete picture of Safe Routes to School spending as more data becomes available in future quarters. 

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Major New Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Initiative

September 12, 2014: Advocates for bicycle and pedestrian safety are celebrating a significant victory this week, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx announcing a number of new safety initiatives to be undertaken at the USDOT. The announcement, made by Secretary Foxx at this week's Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference, couldn’t be better timed, with injuries and deaths for bicyclists and pedestrians on the rise across the nation. Read More...

National Partnership Submits Comments to U.S. DOT on State and Metropolitan Planning Guidance

September 2, 2014: Continuing with MAP-21's reforms to our nation's surface transportation programs, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to performance-based approaches to planning and programming for states and metropolitan planning organizations and a new emphasis on the nonmetropolitan transportation planning process.  The Safe Routes to School National Partnership submitted comments focusing on the need to include public health and opporunities for equity in the planning process.

A Perfect Time to Engage Your Members of Congress

August 25, 2014: August may be slow here in Washington D.C., but the coming several months are a great time for you at home to highlight the changes Safe Routes to School are making in your community. With somewhere in the ballpark of 20 legislative days left before the end of the year and mid-term elections just around the corner, you can bet members of Congress will be at home and engaged in their communities.  And with school already back in session for many children across the country, there couldn’t be a better time to engage your leaders. Read More...

No Clear Path Forward for Transportation Funding in Washington D.C.

August 4, 2014: Here in Washington D.C., we had all hoped lawmakers in would come up with a four to six year solution to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. Yet we are now facing the unfortunate reality that at least one short term patch will be required to give Members of Congress time to sort through a growing stack of short and long-term financing plans.  A failure to extend the trust fund beyond July could jeopardize 112,000 construction projects, nearly 700,000 jobs, and of course, Safe Routes to School projects across the country.  In this week’s blog we look at several proposals put forward by lawmakers, new attacks on TAP funding by Senator Toomey (R-PA) and some good news for Safe Routes to School in our newest quarterly State of the States Report. Read More…

First Quarter Shows Increase in State Spending

June 27, 2014: The first quarterly State of the States report for 2014 shows an uptick in funding announced and obligated for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation.  After last quarter’s expectedly slow rollout of Safe Routes dollars, we anticipate a much stronger showing this year, as a number of states prepare to award remaining SAFETEA-LU funds.  Moving forward, a continued focus on building and implementing projects will be critical, with 85 percent of Safe Routes dollars awarded but only 68 percent obligated.

Senate Transportation Bill Includes Key Improvements for Safe Routes to School

May 12, 2014: The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee released their draft bill reauthorizing MAP-21, which would fund our nation’s surface transportation programs for an additional six years.   Before the bill can come to the Senate floor for a vote, however, the Senate Finance Committee must complete the daunting task of shoring up the funding for our soon-to-be bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. See how this legislation impacts Safe Routes to School on our blog

National Partnership Issues New Snapshot of State TAP Implementation

May 2, 2014: The National Partnership is monitoring implementation of the Transportation Alternatives program (TAP), to help us all understand which states are transferring funds away from the program, which ones are moving forward with application cycles, and which ones are retaining a commitment to Safe Routes to School.  Our latest snapshot is now available, and for the most part it shows positive movement for Safe Routes to School and TAP. Three more states have transferred funding out, but there are only four states that have transferred funds for two years in a row.  Five more states have set application deadlines for TAP, two more states are retaining their SRTS coordinator, and three more states are providing matching funds to Safe Routes to School projects. See how your state rates!

Administration Sends Transportation Bill to Congress

April 30, 2014: The U.S. Department of Transportation sent their long awaited transportation policy bill to Congress this week.  The bill would reauthorize our surface transportation programs for an additional four years at $302 billion, and lays a positive framework for bringing greater safety, equity, and focus on multi-modal transportation options for all of our nation’s road users.  Read more about how this bill would impact walking and bicycling programs on our blog

USDOT Sidesteps Safety as Congress Focuses in on Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure

March 28, 2014: The U.S. Department of Transportation released its proposed rule addressing safety on our roads this month, and the news for bicyclists and pedestrians is not good.  However, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure was front and center in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining local perspectives on transportation. Learn more on our blog

Take Two Minutes to Stand Up for the Safety of Our Children

March 24, 2014:  All of us are working hard to make our neighborhoods safer for kids and families to walk to and from school. But now, we need your help to ensure that the health and safety of our loved ones does not take a back seat to automobile passengers, simply because they chose active transportation over driving.  Please take a moment and read more about how you can help.  

State Spending on Safe Routes Slows

March 24, 2014: The final quarterly State of the States report for 2013 shows insignificant changes both in funding announced and funding obligated for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation.  While this is certainly disappointing, it is also not surprising, as it is consistent with annual trends we have observed at the beginning of each fiscal year.  For example: in September 2012, an additional $62,818,641 was obligated over the prior quarter.  However, the final quarterly report in December showed only $14,480,154 in additional dollars obligated.  This marked year-end slowdown has repeated itself in prior years.  With 35% of total funds still unobligated, it will continue to be important that we focus on obligations so that awards result in projects being built and implemented. 

MAP-21 Reauthorization Kicks into High Gear, Maybe

March 4, 2014: With the clock ticking on the few months until the Highway Trust Fund runs out of dollars, both Congress and the Administration are unveiling plans for financing transportation and for reauthorizing the MAP-21 transportation law.  Learn more on our blog.

Stand up for Safe Streets for all

February 10, 2014: Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor the Safe Streets Act (HR 2468/S2004), which would ensure that state Departments of Transportation and MPOs use complete streets policies and principles when planning federally-funded projects.  It's time we make sure our transportation systems are safe for all users.  Learn more on our blog, and then take action and ask your Senators and Representative to cosponsor the bills today.

Ask your Representative to support new bike/ped financing bill

February 3, 2014: Ask your Representative to cosponsor HR 3978, which would let communities access low-cost loans to build networks of sidewalks, bikes lanes and paths now, and repay the loan over many years.  And, 25% of the loan proceeds must be used in low-income communities--so neighborhoods will benefit, as well as downtowns!  More information is available on our blog, or you can go right to our Congressional action center to contact your Representative now.

Federal transportation policy off to fast start in 2014

January 17, 2014: Read our latest federal policy blog for details about how the new federal spending bills affects transportation programs that benefit bicycling and walking, a recent House hearing showing that transportation policy will be front and center this year in Congress, and new staffing at the US Department of Transportation.

Unveiling our new legislative platform and examining state implementation decisions

January 7, 2014: It’s hard to believe it’s already 2014—and even harder to believe that means that the MAP-21 transportation law is just nine months away from expiring. Check out our latest federal policy blog to learn more about our federal legislative platform, which includes priorities around the Transportation Alternatives program, safety, data collection, health and equity. And, please review our newest update to the Transportation Alternatives state snapshot chart, which details state decisions on the implementation of the Transportation Alternatives program.

While it doesn’t seem all that long since MAP-21 passed, we will need your help this year in making phone calls and emails to Congress at critical junctures, and in inviting members of Congress to join you at Safe Routes to School events. So please stay tuned – we look forward to working with you to make sure 2014 is the year that a transportation bill supportive of Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking is passed.