Congress Locks In Funding for Safe Routes with New Five-Year Transportation Bill
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which is the final transportation agreement negotiated between the House and Senate. Once the Senate passes the agreement, expected by early next week, a new five-year transportation law will be in effect.
Fortunately, we were able to preserve funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking and obtain a few policy improvements in the FAST Act. There is a small increase in funding for TAP (which is renamed "STP Setaside"), nonprofits are eligible to compete for funding, and the competitive structure with shared decision-making between state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations is maintained. For the full details, read our blog with questions and answers about the impact of the FAST Act on the Transportation Alternatives Program and Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking.
This means we have five years of certainty that the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) will continue to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking infrastructure and programming across the country. This is a real victory given the conservative Congress in which opponents wanted to eliminate the program altogether.
Our success is a tribute to advocates across the country who have put TAP funds to good use and have shared their Safe Routes to School stories with members of Congress. We are also grateful to our local, state and national partner organizations that advocated for this outcome. And, it is due to the tenacious leadership of a number of Congressional champions, including Senators Cardin (D-MD), Cochran (R-MS) and Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives DeFazio (D-OR), Larsen (D-WA), Blumenauer (D-OR), Buchanan (R-FL) and Zeldin (R-NY).
Thank you for all your support over the years to get to this point—and we look forward to hearing more about the continued success of Safe Routes to School all around the country!
Stay tuned for a webinar in mid-January on the FAST Act and its impact on Safe Routes to School—registration information will be circulated to our e-mail list soon.