Federal legislation and funding
October 27, 2005
National Safe Routes to School Program
(SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1101(a)(17), 1404)
In August 2005, federal transportation legislation established a national Safe Routes to School program that will dedicate a total of $612 million towards SRTS from 2005 to 2009. These funds will be distributed to states in proportion to the number of primary and secondary school students in the state, with no state receiving less than $1 million per year. The State Department of Transportation is charged with administering the statewide program and is required to fund a full-time SRTS Coordinator using a sufficient amount of the SRTS apportionment.
An effective SRTS program requires a comprehensive approach that must include engineering, education, enforcement, and encouragement. Therefore, the SRTS funds can be used for both infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities with not less than. 10% or greater than 30% of the funds towards non-infrastructure.The legislation also requires each state to have a Safe Routes to School Coordinator to serve as a central point of contact for the state. It is anticipated that the Arizona Department of Transportation will establish the position of statewide SRTS Coordinator.
The federal SRTS program provides funds that can be used forInfrastucture-related projects: “Planning, design, and construction of infrastructure-related projects that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school, on any public road or any bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail within approximately 2 miles of a primary or middle school. (ie: sidewalk improvements, on-street and off street bicycle parking, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements).
Non-infrastructure-related activities: ;” and “non infrastructure-related activities to eEncourage walking and bicycling to school, including through public awareness campaigns and outreach to press and community leaders, traffic education and enforcement, student training, and funding for training, volunteers, and managers of SRTS programs.”
For up-to-date and comprehensive information on the National SRTS Program check out the FHWA Safe Routes to School Website http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/index.htm
IMPORTANT NOTE: It may still take six to twelve months from the enactment of the legislation for federal SRTS funds to actually become available to local SRTS programs. First the Federal Highway Administration will need to develop regulations and guidance for distributing the funds. Each state also needs to hire a state SRTS coordinator and establish a process for receiving applications and determining which projects will receive funding. Although some states already have SRTS programs, the process of merging these existing state programs with federal guidance and requirements may delay their activities. (More information will be posted here when FHWA program guidance or additional resources are available.)