SB 99, Reformatting how we fund Active Transportation Projects and how you can get involved

In September Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 99, a bill that creates a comprehensive Active Transportation Program for funding bicycle, pedestrian and other active modes of travel in California. The Active Transportation Program (ATP) consolidates pre-existing, separate funds that were allotted to bicycle, pedestrian, trails and Safe Routes to School into one comprehensive program.

Do you have ideas for how the ATP should be structured or an interest in pedestrian and bicycle projects? Consider attending an Active Transportation Workgroup. The L.A. workshop takes place Monday, October 28th at 1:00 pm in the Cal Trans Conference Room A at 100 S. Main St. California Transportation Commission staff are seeking guidance on the following aspects as they work to develop the new program:

  • Development of program guidelines and subsequent revisions to guidelines.
  • Program schedules and procedures.
  • Project selection criteria.
  • Performance measures.
  • Program evaluation.

1st Street Bike Lane

More on the Program:

The creation of the ATP should help speed up the amount of time it takes cities and counties to apply for, fund and ultimately construct projects. By simplifying the overall process, we can improve efficiency and see effective changes on our streets take place more quickly.

This new Active Transportation Program aims to fund projects that:

  • Increase the proportion of biking and walking trips.
  • Increase safety for non-motorized users.
  • Increase mobility for non-motorized users.
  • Advance the efforts of regional agencies to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • Enhance public health, including the reduction of childhood obesity through the use of
  • projects eligible for Safe Routes to Schools Program funding.
  • Ensure disadvantaged communities fully share in program benefits (25% of program).
  • Provide a broad spectrum of projects to benefit many types of active transportation users.
Breakdown of funding and funding sources:

SB 99 initially planned to allot $90.5 million to the new ATP. However, with encouragement from advocacy and stakeholder groups including the California Bicycle Coalition and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership an additional $39 million was awarded in funding, bringing the overall budget to total of $129.5 million.

Of that 129.5 million, 40% will be distributed by Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs) such as SCAG, 10% will be distributed to small urban and rural populations and the remaining 50% will be distributed across projects statewide. Of the Statewide funding, a $24 million (37%) portion  will be designated to fund Safe Routes to School projects.

The ATP is funded by state and federal sources. 34.2 million (26%) of the ATP’s funding is from the State Highway Account and the remaining 95.3 million (74%) is derived from the Federal Trust Fund. Federal transportation funding programs that are now providing funds through the Active Transportation Program include the  Transportation Alternatives Program, the Federal Recreational Trails Program and the Federal Safe Routes to School Program. Separate state programs that will now be part of the ATP include Safe Routes to School and the Bicycle Transportation Account.

It’s worth noting that the overall budget for transportation projects in California is $12 billion. So, while a 35% increase in funding was a clear success for the ATP, that still means California’s transportation budget allots only 1% of its funds towards bicycle and pedestrian projects. It’s going to take more consistent funding increases to re-orientate our statewide transportation funding priorities to promote healthier modes of travel- biking, walking and other measures that give people options for getting out of their motor vehicles.

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  1. […] and Safe Routes to School programs. Through the hard work of advocates, the Legislature ended up increasing the total allocation to the activities in the ATP by more than a third for the next fiscal year. At […]

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