This week, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced recommended winners for $180 million in statewide Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding, including over $60 million for projects in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County has been awarded 34% of the funding available statewide. Congratulations to our partners and their successful efforts!
The success of Los Angeles County projects continues to demonstrate the overwhelming demand for active transportation funding in the region. Currently, Los Angeles County invests less than 1% of all transportation funds towards active transportation (2014 Metro Short Range Transportation Plan). The primary source of funding for safe routes to school, first/last mile, bicycle lanes, and walking infrastructure improvements in Los Angeles County remains to be only State and Federal funds – primarily ATP (Transportation Finance in Los Angeles County: An Overview). And interesting to note, the biggest recipient of the 2015 ATP awards for Los Angeles County applicants is Metro, with over $12M awarded for the Union Station Master Plan.
Los Angeles County needs a strategic plan for funding active transportation and multi-modal investments, especially as the region considers a potential transportation sales tax for 2016. We frequently hear from cities and agencies across the region about the hardship in administering federal funds, especially for smaller active transportation projects. In fact, the City of Los Angeles sat out this cycle of the Active Transportation Program due to the backlog in existing awards and the administrative challenges of programming previous funds.
While Los Angeles County did well for a second year in a row from this source of funding – is this based on the historical lack of funding/pent up demand or strategy and regional coordination of needs and allocation of the right type of funding? And how far does $60M go in a regions where needs assessments for creating a multi-modal region are estimated to be more than $15Billion over the next 30 years (Best Practices for funding Active Transportation with County Transportation Sales Taxes – see page 3)?
As we continue to plan for more safe routes to school, first/last mile walking and biking in the county, it’s critically important that we continue to unlock local revenue for these projects.
Let’s celebrate this amazing win and investment for the region and take these questions and lessons learned to inform the potential 2016 ballot measure.
For more detail on the awards from a state analysis see the great post from our partners at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.