Did you know that Oregon’s Walk+Bike to School Day and Walk+Bike Challenge Month are partially funded by federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds through the Oregon Department of Transportation? Individual Oregon schools, districts, and communities have also used Safe Routes to School funds over the last several years to implement approximately 11 million dollars worth of road and infrastructure projects, and education and encouragement programs to make it safe and appealing for students to walk and bike to school.
In the new federal transportation bill, MAP-21, signed into law this summer, the Safe Routes to School program will no longer receive dedicated federal funding. Several pots of money have been combined, and Safe Routes to School projects are among many kinds of eligible projects for those funds. In other words, it is now even more in the hands of states and local governments to decide what federal, state, and local funds they are going to invest in Safe Routes to School.
MAP-21 is still very new, and Oregon decision makers have not yet completed determinations on how our state’s SRTS program will be administered in the future. Meanwhile keep an eye out for news from Oregon’s Safe Routes to School Program Manager, Julie Yip, about SRTS mini-grant opportunities with funds leftover from the previous federal transportation bill.
As always, if your school has benefited from SRTS funds in the past, invite local decision makers to see the success first hand. If your school would benefit from future SRTS investments, share those needs with local decision makers too. Invite them to join in the vision of safe, healthy communities of students and families walking and biking to and from school together.
You can also get involved by attending the Walk+Bike Retreat, joining the Walk+Bike Advocacy Taskforce or the Walk+Bike Education Taskforce. We believe that every student deserves to walk and bike to school, join us by taking part on one of these action oriented groups. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.