Though we have our reservations about the Governor’s proposed Active Transportation Program (ATP), the ATP does have great potential to increase funding for walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to Schools programs over time. On March 13 and 14, the Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees held hearings on the ATP proposal, and based on the legislators’ responses, we believe there is strong support and will in the Legislature to ensure that the ATP can be a truly transformational program for Californians who walk and bike. Walk, bike, health, environmental, and equity advocates from across the State showed up in full force for the hearungs, and testified passionately to the subcommittees about the importance and benefits of active transportation and Safe Routes to School.
Many subcommittee members responded with strong support, and both committees directed the Adminsitration to work closely with our coalition of advocates to address our concerns. Assembly Subcommittee Chair Richard Bloom of Santa Monica was concerned that the ATP does not address the needs of pedestrians with disabilities, and also expressed interest in the ATP receiving future revenue from his AB 1002 proposal (increased vehicle registration fee).On the Senate side, Subcommittee Chair Jim Beall of San Jose spoke passionately about his own experience as a child witnessing a classmate struck and killed by a motor vehicle, and strongly supported focusing ATP funds on projects that improve the safety of Californians walking and biking.
California WALKS continues its work with the California Bicycle Coalition, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, TransForm, and a coalition of advocates to negotiate a final ATP proposal with the Administration, and we expect to be meeting with the Administration in the coming weeks. And after the budget hearings, we are reinvigorated to seize this opportunity to strengthen the ATP for the millions of Californians who walk and bike.