Assembly Bill 1194 (Safe Routes to School Program) provides vital support to California’s Safe Routes to School Program (SR2S). Authored by Representative Tom Ammiano and Representative V. Manuel Perez, the bill originally sought to secure dedicated funding for SR2S, however, secure funding language was removed last week when the bill moved to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Despite these changes, this assembly bill still makes important improvements to the SR2S program. First, it adds non-infrastructure elements to the state SR2S program like public awareness campaigns; outreach to press and community leaders; traffic education and enforcement in around school; student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety; and funding for training, volunteers, and managers of SR2S programs. Second, it specifies that 20% of program funds are to be used for non-infrastructure-related activities and up to 20% of these funds are to be used for a statewide technical assistance resource center. Third, it allows the Transportation Agency to transfer administrative responsibilities for the SR2S program from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to the California Transportation Commission. Lastly, it requires Caltrans to employ a full-time SR2S coordinator to administer the program.
Assembly Bill 1290 (Transportation Planning), authored by Representative John A. Perez, moved to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on June 13th. This bill modifies the composition of the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which is responsible for programming and allocation of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail, and transit improvements throughout California. The bill urges the Governor to make appointments to the commission that represents the transportation community’s expertise. The bill puts a particular emphasis on stakeholders involved and engaged in efforts to make California’s transportation system more sustainable, while imposing new duties relative to assessing progress in implementing sustainable communities strategies (SCSs).