Senate Bill 99 – Creating the ATPSeptember 14, 2013
To better understand the Active Transportation Program (ATP), it’s helpful to focus on the bill that will create it – Senate Bill No. 99 (SB-99). If you’re interested in learning about the new program and where we are currently at with it, this brief overview1 may be helpful.
Earlier this year, SB-99 introduced the “Active Transportation Program” to encourage and support bicycle and pedestrian projects. The bill defines the goals of the ATP as:
- Increasing the proportion of trips accomplished by biking and walking;
- Increasing safety and mobility for non-motorized users;
- Advancing active transportation efforts of regional agencies to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals;
- Enhancing Public Health, including the reduction of childhood obesity through the use of program funding, including the use of Safe Routes to Schools programs;
- Ensuring that disadvantaged communities fully share in the benefit of the Program2; and
- Providing a broad spectrum of projects to benefit many types of active transportation users.
Proposed funding for the program includes various federal and state transportation funds:
- 100% of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds;
- $21 million of federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds or other federal funds3; and
- Various revenues from the Highway Users Tax Account and the State Highway Account4.
The bill further specifies how funds are to be distributed:
- 40% of the funding to MPOs in urban areas with populations above 200,000;
- 10% of funding to small urban and rural regions with populations of 200,000 or less; and
- 50% of the funding to program projects competitively on a statewide basis.
Correspondingly, several dedicated grant programs such as Safe Routes to School, bicycle programs, and recreational trails will be replaced to reduce the administrative requirements of having several independent programs.
Pending Governor Approval
SB-99 has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly and has been presented to the Governor for approval5. Assuming that the Governor doesn’t exercise his option to veto, the bill would take effect immediately as it provides appropriations related to the Budget Bill.
Well, that’s where I jump in. I’m part of the working group tasked with developing guidelines to achieve the ATP goals. Some of the the topics that we’ll be addressing are project eligibility, application timelines, application rating and ranking criteria, project monitoring, reporting, and transparency, and project performance measurement.
I report to Headquarters Monday to meet the team and get started I hope to keep site subscribers updated with the program as it develops.