Over the past year, TransForm and our allies have diligently advocated for programs that would protect the best of our State's efforts, while increasing efficiency and prioritizing the health and safety of our most disadvantaged communities.
When Governor Brown announced his intention to create such a program, we were cautiously optimistic – but nervous about the details, and whether the program could be created on the ambitious timeline the Governor required.
So TransForm – along with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, California WALKS, PolicyLink, and other key partners – got busy helping ensure the Legislature heard our concerns and kept this important program moving forward over the summer.
On Wednesday, the Governor signed the final bill creating a new Active Transportation Program (ATP) for funding California bike and pedestrian projects and programs, and it looks great!
The new law creates a single pot of funding for bike and pedestrian ("active transportation") infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects, with some additional improvements:
- It adds millions of dollars more to these projects than in years past
- It also requires that at least 25% of these funds be used to benefit disadvantaged communities.
We all recognize the need for public participation in good planning, and that the Safe Routes to Schools model of walk audits is a great way for communities to proactively determine their infrastructure needs. The good news: The Active Transportation Program allows for walk audits, and other good, non-infrastructure programs to continue to be eligible for funding.
The final program boosts State-dedicated funding for active transportation by 35% this year, and tasks the California Transportation Commission (CTC) with creating guidelines and eligibility criteria in a process that will include at least two public hearings. We want the CTC to succeed at this, and look forward to working with them on a truly robust and comprehensive ATP that prioritizes Californians' health and safety and improves their transportation choices.
This is the second piece of good news for biking and walking this week. On Monday, Governor Brown signed AB 1371, which will require drivers to leave at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist. TransForm worked closely with the California Bicycle Coalition to push for a signature on this bill.
Now, the final step is for the Governor to sign AB 1290, which would further strengthen the CTC’s ability to steward not only bicycle and pedestrian projects but also sustainable transportation. Click here to learn more, and to email the Governor in support of AB 1290.
We are proud and grateful to have helped shape this policy along with the amazing coalition of advocates who stood strong for active transportation this year. Click here to read our joint press release on the Active Transportation Program.