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US Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration


Subject: ACTION:

  1. Designation of Full-Time Safe Routes to School Coordinator within State Department of Transportation (Response Required by December 31, 2005)

  2. Designation of Single Point of Contact within Division Office for Safe Routes to School Program (Response required October 11, 2005)

Date: September 26, 2005

From: John R. Baxter, Acting Associate Administrator for Safety

In Reply Trfer To: HSA-20

To: Division Administrators

I am writing to you about the new Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program established in SAFETEA-LU. Specifically, Section 1404(f)(3) of the law requires (see attached legislative language and fact sheet) each State DOT to hire a full-time SR2S coordinator to implement a SR2S statewide program.

The purpose of this program is to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; to make walking and bicycling to school safe and more appealing, and to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools. The hiring of a SR2S coordinator by the State DOT is crucial to the success of this new, $612 million program.

Each State, in consultation with the FHWA division offices, should initiate recruitment actions to fill this position as soon as possible. We are requesting that the new SR2S coordinators be in place by no later than the end of calendar year 2005.

As stated in the Joint Explanatory Statement (attached), the creation of a State level SR2S coordinator position provides a central point of contact for the program. Where a DOT places this new position, organizationally, is a State DOT decision. However, the cross-cutting nature of the new SR2S program will require substantial coordination with the existing State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator(s), safety engineers,

planning offices and other organizational units within the State DOT. Substantial coordination will also be required with other State, regional, and local authorities and with non-profit organizations and safety advocates.

The coordinator should be a program manager with specific responsibility for SR2S programs and activities, and have sufficient authority to work effectively with other elements within the State. In selecting a coordinator, the State should keep in mind that the SR2S program is geared towards nontraditional partners. It will be grassroots driven, and project sponsors likely will be school or community based groups. Appropriate educational or work-related experience in administering similar programs would also enable the State coordinator to “hit the ground running” to set up the State’s SR2S program.

In addition to the qualifications mentioned above, we have attached some of the typical qualities of a successful State SR2S coordinator.

The Federal share for the SR2S program, including the State coordinator position, is 100 percent. The funding for the coordinator position is to come from the infrastructure portion of the State’s SR2S funding (pursuant to Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying SAFETEA-LU, pp 866-867 (see attached)). The FY05 apportionment notice for SR2S was signed on September 1, 2005, providing each State DOT, and the District of Columbia, $1 million each. With these funds now in hand, the State should make the hiring of a SR2S coordinator their first program priority.

Please note that the legislative language specified that each State shall receive a minimum of $1 million per year as opposed to the $2 million discussed on page one in the Joint Explanatory Statement.

We ask that each FHWA division office inform us of the name of the State SR2S coordinator and their organizational location within the State DOT as soon as these positions are filled, but by no later than the end of calendar year 2005.

In addition, each division office should advise us by October 11, 2005, of the designee within their office that will handle the program.

Please forward the above information to Mr. Tim Arnade, Safe Routes to School Program Manager, Office of Safety. Tim will assume his SR2S duties on October 3, 2005. He can be reached via telephone at (202) 366-2205 or via email at tim.arnade@fhwa.dot.gov.

4 Attachments

cc:Resource Center Managers
Federal Lands Program Administrators

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Attachment 1

Safe Routes to School - Legislative Language

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. Conference Report on H.R. 3. Report 109-203.

TITLE I—FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS, Subtitle A—Authorization of Programs

Section 1101. Authorization of Appropriations

(17) SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAM.—For the safe routes to school program under section 1404 of this Act—

(A) $54,000,000 for fiscal year 2005;

(B) $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2006;

(C) $125,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;

(D) $150,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and

(E) $183,000,000 for fiscal year 2009.

Section 1120 (c)

DEFINITION OF STATE.— For the purposes of apportioning funds under sections 104, 105, 130, 144, and 206 of title 23, United States Code, and section 1404, relating to the safe routes to school program, the term ‘‘State’’ means any of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

TITLE I—FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS, Subtitle D – Highway Safety
Section 1404 - SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAM

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.— Subject to the requirements of this section, the Secretary shall establish and carry out a safe routes to school program for the benefit of children in primary and middle schools.

(b) PURPOSES.— The purposes of the program shall be— (1) to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; (2) to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and (3) to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

(c) APPORTIONMENT OF FUNDS.—

(1) IN GENERAL.— Subject to paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), amounts made available to carry out this section for a fiscal year shall be apportioned among the States in the ratio that— (A) the total student enrollment in primary and middle schools in each State; bears to (B) the total student enrollment in primary and middle schools in all States.

(2) MINIMUM APPORTIONMENT.— No State shall receive an apportionment under this section for a fiscal year of less than $1,000,000.

(3) SET-ASIDE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.— Before apportioning under this subsection amounts made available to carry out this section for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall set aside not more than $3,000,000 of such amounts for administrative expenses in carrying out this subsection.

(4) DETERMINATION OF STUDENT ENROLLMENTS.— Determinations under this subsection concerning student enrollments shall be made by the Secretary.

(d) ADMINISTRATION OF AMOUNTS.— Amounts apportioned to a State under this section shall be administered by the State’s department of transportation.

(e) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS.— Amounts apportioned to a State under this section shall be used by the State to provide financial assistance to State, local, and regional agencies, including nonprofit organizations, that demonstrate an ability to meet the requirements of this section.

(f) ELIGIBLE PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES.—

(1) INFRASTRUCTURE - RELATED PROJECTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.— Amounts apportioned to a State under this section may be used for the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure-related projects that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school, including sidewalk improvements, traffic calming and speed reduction improvements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, on-street bicycle facilities, off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities, secure bicycle parking facilities, and traffic diversion improvements in the vicinity of schools.

(B) LOCATION OF PROJECTS.— Infrastructure-related projects under subparagraph (A) may be carried out on any public road or any bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail in the vicinity of schools.

(2) NONINFRASTRUCTURE - RELATED ACTIVITIES.—

IN GENERAL.— In addition to projects described in paragraph (1), amounts

apportioned to a State under this section may be used for noninfrastructure-related activities to encourage walking and bicycling to school, including public awareness campaigns and outreach to press and community leaders, traffic education and enforcement in the vicinity of schools, student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health, and environment, and funding for training, volunteers, and managers of safe routes to school programs.

(B) ALLOCATION.— Not less than 10 percent and not more than 30 percent of the amount apportioned to a State under this section for a fiscal year shall be used for noninfrastructure-related activities under this subparagraph.

(3) SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL COORDINATOR.— Each State receiving an apportionment under this section for a fiscal year shall use a sufficient amount of the apportionment to fund a full-time position of coordinator of the State’s safe routes to school program.

(g) CLEARINGHOUSE.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall make grants to a national nonprofit organization engaged in promoting safe routes to schools to — (A) operate a national safe routes to school clearinghouse; H. R. 3—87 (B) develop information and educational programs on safe routes to school; and (C) provide technical assistance and disseminate techniques and strategies used for successful safe routes to school programs.

(2) FUNDING.—The Secretary shall carry out this subsection using amounts set aside for administrative expenses under subsection (c)(3).

(h) TASK FORCE.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a national safe routes to school task force composed of leaders in health, transportation, and education, including representatives of appropriate Federal agencies, to study and develop a strategy for advancing safe routes to school programs nationwide.

(2) REPORT.—Not later than March 31, 2006, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report containing the results of the study conducted, and a description of the strategy developed, under paragraph (1) and information regarding the use of funds for infrastructure-related and noninfrastructure-related activities under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection

(f).

(3) FUNDING.—The Secretary shall carry out this subsection using amounts set aside for administrative expenses under subsection (c)(3).

(i) APPLICABILITY OF TITLE 23.—Funds made available to carry out this section shall be available for obligation in the same manner as if such funds were apportioned under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code; except that such funds shall not be transferable and shall remain available until expended, and the Federal share of the cost of a project or activity under this section shall be 100 percent.

(j) TREATMENT OF PROJECTS.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, projects assisted under this subsection shall be treated as projects on a Federal-aid system under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code.

(k) DEFINITIONS.— In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) IN THE VICINITY OF SCHOOLS.— The term ‘‘in the vicinity of schools’’ means, with respect to a school, the area within bicycling and walking distance of the school (approximately 2 miles).

(2) PRIMARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS.—The term ‘‘primary and middle schools’’ means schools providing education from kindergarten through eighth grade.

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Attachment 2

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAM

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Authorization $54 M $100 M $125 M $150 M $183 M

Program Purpose

To enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; to make walking and bicycling to school safe and more appealing; and to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects that will improve safety, and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1101(a)(17), 1404

Funding/Formula

Funded by contract authority, to remain available until expended. Contract authority is not subject to transfer and is subject to the overall Federal-aid obligation limitation.

Each year after deducting $3 million for the administrative expenses of the program, the Secretary shall apportion the funds to States based on their relative shares of total enrollment in primary and middle schools (kindergarten through eight grade), but no State will receive less than $1 million.

Funds are to be administered by State departments of transportation to provide financial assistance to State, local, and regional agencies, including non-profit organizations that demonstrate the ability to meet the requirements of the program.

Eligible Use of Funds

For infrastructure related projects, eligible activities are the planning, design, and construction of projects that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school. These include sidewalk improvements, traffic calming and speed reduction improvements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, on-street bicycle facilities, off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities, secure bike parking, and traffic diversion improvements in the vicinity of schools (within approximately 2 miles). Such projects may be carried out on any public road or any bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail in the vicinity of schools.

Each State must set aside from its Safe Routes to School apportionment not less than 10 percent and not more than 30 percent of the funds for noninfrastructure-related activities to encourage walking and bicycling to school. These include public awareness campaigns and outreach to press and community leaders, traffic education and enforcement in the vicinity of schools, student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health, and environment, and training, volunteers, and managers of safe routes to school programs.

Each State receiving program funds must use a sufficient amount of the funds to fund a full-time position of coordinator of the State’s safe routes to school program.

Program Features

Using funds set-aside for the administrative costs of the program, the Secretary shall

Make grants to a national nonprofit organization engaged in promoting safe routes to school to operate a national safe routes to school clearinghouse, develop information and educational programs on safe routes to school, and provide technical assistance and disseminate techniques and strategies used for successful safe routes to school programs.

Establish a national safe routes to school task force, composed of leaders in health, transportation, and education, to study and develop a strategy for advancing safe routes to school programs nationwide. The Secretary is to report to Congress by March 31, 2006, on the results of the study and a description of the strategy developed, along with information regarding the use of program funds for infrastructure and noninfrastructure purposes.

Federal Share

The Federal share is 100 percent.

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Legislation and Strategic Planning
Program Analysis Team
August 25, 2005

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Attachment 3

SAFETEA-LU, Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of the Conference, Report 109-203, pp. 866-867

Sec. 1404. Safe Routes to School Program

House Bill.

Sec. 1122(a)

This section establishes two new programs – a Safe Routes to School Program and a Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program.

Subsection (a) establishes a Safe Routes to School Program for the benefit of children in primary and middle schools. The purposes of the program are to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school, to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

Funding is made available by formula to state departments of transportation on the basis of student enrollment in primary and middle schools. No state shall receive less than $2 million annually. Funds will be used by the state to provide financial assistance to state, local and regional agencies, including nonprofit organizations, which demonstrate an ability to meet the requirements of this section.

The program funds two distinct types of projects: infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure related activities. States should be encouraged to create competitive applications forms, criteria, and evaluations that are appropriate for the two different types of projects.

The creation of a state level safe routes to school coordinator position provides a central point of contact for the program. Funding for the state level safe routes to school coordinator position is not included in the 10 to 30 percent of funds required to be used for non-infrastructure related activities under this subsection. The state coordinator’s position is to be funded from the balance of the state’s safe routes to school funds.

The safe routes to school clearinghouse provides an important opportunity to insure successful implementation of the program. As a new program, states will be interested in guidance on implementing the program effectively and efficiently. The clearinghouse can provide case studies, gather and disseminate information, track implementation, and monitor the program.

Given the broad scope of the safe routes to school activities, the Committee acknowledges the need to include a broad range of agencies and organizations in the


Task Force authorized by this section. In addition to representatives from federal agencies, additional task force members could include representatives from state and local agencies as well as relevant non-profit organizations and associations including organizations or associations that represent automobile drivers.

Senate Bill

Sec. 1405.

This section creates a new Safe Routes to Schools Program, section 150 of title 23. The Secretary shall establish and carry out a safe routes to schools program for the benefit of children who walk and bicycle to school.

The Safe Routes to Schools program works towards this goal by making bicycling and walking safer and more appealing transportation alternatives. For this program, the Secretary shall set aside $65,704,024 from section 148 to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety within two miles of primary and secondary schools. The Secretary shall distribute these funds using the formula established in section 148.

Conference Substitute

The Conference adopts the House provision with a modification to reduce the minimum state apportionment to $1 million.

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Attachment 4

TYPICAL QUALITIES OF A SUCCESSFUL STATE
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL COORDINATOR

  1. Commitment to nonmotorized means of transportation - interested in the fields of bicycling and walking, and personally supportive of these modes particularly for school transportation.
  2. Technical experience - engineering and/or planning expertise relating to non-motorized travel useful, ability to assimilate technical information readily, problem solver and able to work through administrative as well as inter-agency political process.
  3. Manager - Ability to coordinate contractual agreements; work within a budget; participate in developing training courses, disseminate information to the general public and other government officials.
  4. Commitment to work across organizational units and with external partners in fields related to transportation (e.g. safety, school administration, law enforcement).
  5. Good Interpersonal Skills - Effective public speaker, with ability to chair meetings, coordinate contacts with the press and coordinate with various groups and organizations - both inside and outside the State government.
  6. Writing skills - Ability to organize thoughts clearly and concisely and understand the electronic and print media.
  7. People oriented - Outgoing, a good listener, enjoys mixing with a variety of people and sharing ideas and information.
  8. Creativity - Imaginative and possesses initiative to make new program a success.
  9. Assertive - Self-confident, enthusiastic person who will build on team developed projects.
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