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.