By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– After Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 99 to create the Active Transportation Program—which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs—the California State Transportation Agency today announced plans to implement the new legislation.
“This new transportation program is the nation’s largest state commitment to bicycling, walking and other active transportation,” Secretary Brian Kelly said. “When Californians have more active transportation options—including new and safer trails and pedestrian routes—it helps the entire state achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals while enhancing public health and safety.”
The new program replaces the current patchwork of small grant programs with a comprehensive program that improves program planning and flexibility and is more efficient than multiple programs. Another benefit is that funds can be directed to multi-year projects to make greater long-term improvements to active transportation.
“Californians are increasingly determined to get places on their own power, and Caltrans is determined to help them do that,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Having a single program with a single set of rules will make it easier to help communities meet their active-transportation goals.”
Under the new legislation, the California Transportation Commission will develop guidelines and project selection criteria based on the goals of the program by convening a working group of stakeholders to develop the guidelines. Forty percent of the funding will go toward metropolitan planning organizations in urban areas. Ten percent of the funds go to small urban and rural regions. The remaining funds will go to the California Transportation Commission for statewide projects.
Active transportation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian paths, are an important part of achieving mobility, safety and sustainability goals for California’s transportation system. The purpose of the new active transportation program is to:
The new $129 million program is funded with federal Transportation Alternative Program funding, federal Highway Safety Improvement funds, and the State Highway Account funds.
The Safe Routes to Schools program is guaranteed at least $24 million of funding from program funds for three years. The proposal also requires that 25 percent of all funds benefit disadvantaged communities.
“The Active Transportation Program advances California’s strong national leadership in promoting walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School and creates a new national model,” said Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “We applaud the Governor, the Legislature, and Secretary Kelly on their vision to create a truly multi-modal transportation system that expands opportunities for safe and active travel, especially for California’s children and disadvantaged communities.”
Each year, Caltrans prepares an annual report summarizing programs it has undertaken for the development of non-motorized transportation facilities. For more information on Active Transportation in California see the 2011-12 Caltrans Report.
The California State Transportation Agency, which launched July 1, 2013, is responsible for transportation-related departments within the state: Board of Pilot Commissioners, California Highway Patrol, California Transportation Commission, Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, High-Speed Rail Authority, New Motor Vehicle Board and Office of Traffic Safety. The Agency was formed as part of Governor Brown’s Government Reorganization Plan, which became law in 2012. In June, the Agency announced $87 million in new federally-funded traffic safety grants administered by the Office of Traffic Safety. Last year, the Agency formed the California Freight Advisory Committee to help determine the state’s plans for freight-related transportation investments in California. The Agency also formed the California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities Workgroup, which will help set priorities for transportation spending and explore long-term funding options to deliver California’s infrastructure needs.