Funding may go to creating safe routes to bus stops

Posted on April 8, 2009

As Congress prepares to take on the reauthorization of the highway bill that includes Safe Routes to School, advocates of the program are calling for more funding and several changes to it.

One of the changes, which were recommended by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, would be to allow up to 10 percent of the program’s infrastructure funding to be used for creating safe routes to bus stops. The stops would have to serve “a significant number” of children and be at least two miles from school.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) expressed its support for the partnership’s recommendations — particularly the bus stop proposal.

“Naturally, the safety of students who walk or bicycle is critical regardless of whether their destination is a school or a school bus stop,” NASDPTS President Charlie Hood wrote in a letter to the partnership.

Other recommendations by the partnership include increasing funding for Safe Routes to School, adding high schools to eligible applicants and easing administrative burdens on local project implementation.

The Safe Routes to School program was created in 2005 as part of SAFETEA-LU, which governs spending on surface transportation. The expiration date for SAFETEA-LU is Sept. 30, 2009.

The bulk of Safe Routes to School funding allows schools and communities to retrofit and build roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and pathways to allow children to more safely walk and bicycle to school.

Related Topics: school bus stops, school site safety

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