News

SRTS Coaching Action Webinars and Other Core Walking Programs Slashed in Tansportation Bill

The following is America Walks’ analysis of the realistic impacts from decreased funding for walking, by 30-40%, in the Federal Transportation Bill (Map-21) passed on June 29, 2012.  

  • Reduced infrastructure investments in Main Street America, town centers and downtowns everywhere.
  • Few new safety improvements for children who walk and bike to school.
  • Safe Routes to School Coaching Action Webinars will end in October.
  • Cutting community engagement in traffic safety for children, the elderly and transportation disadvantaged.
  • Difficulty maintaining basic infrastructure used by people of all ages, abilities, and social stratum, including sidewalks, bike lanes, and street crossings.
  • Safety issues will deter people from walking, leading to a fundamentally inactive population, thus resulting in many long-term, costly chronic diseases.
  • Personal transportation will cost more as affordable walking and bicycling options become less safe and access to transit service is not prioritized.

On Friday, June 29th, Congress passed a 27-month transportation bill (MAP-21).  Unfortunately, the new bill is a major step backward for walking programs.  At a time when people are walking and biking more – seeing positive results, such as improved health, environmental benefits, and communities that work for all ages – Congress enacted a 30-40 percent cut in funding for walking programs!

How are the cuts structured?

  • Three core programs – Recreational Trails, Safe Routes to School, and Transportation Enhancements – have been consolidated under the name Transportation Alternatives and their funding slashed.
  • In addition to reduced funding, these programs now compete with other categories, such as environmental mitigation and some minor road projects.
  • Your State Department of Transportation can choose to move half the money out of Transportation Alternatives into highway projects.
  • The following links, provided by our partner organizations, give more detailed information and analysis of the Transportation Bill (MAP-21).
    America Bikes: Analysis of the New Transportation Bill, MAP-21
    Safe Routes to School National Partnership:  What Does the Transportation Bill Mean for Safe Routes to School?
    Rails to Trails Conservancy:  The Impacts of MAP-21 on Trails, Walking and Bicycling Across America

Want to know how you can advocate for funding for walking in your community?

  • Have your State DOT keep all eligible monies in the Transportation Alternatives pot.
  • From this Transportation Alternatives pot, ask that Safe Routes to School be funded at the current level in your state.
  • Support America Walks so the next transportation bill restores funding for walking in all our communities.

What is America Walks’ role now?

  • To support state and community walking coalitions.
  • To connect walking advocates to resources and to each other.
  • To lay the groundwork for restoring funding for walking in the next federal transportation bill.
  • To find innovative ways to fund walking and biking infrastructure and programs.