BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   AB 516|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 516
          Author:   V. Manuel Pérez (D), et al.
          Amended:  7/14/11 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMM  :  6-1, 6/28/11
          AYES:  DeSaulnier, Kehoe, Lowenthal, Pavley, Rubio, 
          NOES:  Gaines
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Harman, Huff

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  57-20, 6/2/11 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Safe routes to school

           SOURCE  :     PolicyLink

           DIGEST  :    This bill modifies the state Safe Routes to 
          School program to help ensure increased participation from 
          low-income communities.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law:

          1.Requires the state Department of Transportation 
            (Caltrans), in consultation with the California Highway 
            Patrol (CHP), to establish and administer a Safe Routes 
            to School (SRTS) program for construction of bicycle and 
            pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects.


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          2.Requires Caltrans to award grants under this program to 
            "local government agencies" based on the results of a 
            statewide competition.  (Caltrans program guidelines 
            define an eligible applicant as "an incorporated city or 
            county within the State of California.")  The competition 
            requires local agencies to submit proposals for funding, 
            which Caltrans rates based on all of the following 

                 Demonstrated needs of the applicant.
                 Potential of the proposal to reduce child injuries 
               and fatalities.
                 Potential of the proposal to encourage increased 
               walking and bicycling among students.
                 Identification of safety hazards. 
                 Identification of current and potential walking and 
               bicycling routes to school.
                 Consultation and support for projects by 
               school-based associations, local traffic engineers, 
               local elected officials, law enforcement agencies, 
               school officials, and other relevant community 

          1.Provides that any annual budget allocation to fund SRTS 
            grants shall be in addition to any federal funding 
            received by the state that is designated for this 

          2.Provides that Caltrans shall distribute any federal 
            funding received by the state for SRTS under the 
            competitive grant process, consistent with federal 

          3.Requires Caltrans to consult with and obtain approval 
            from the CHP prior to awarding any construction grant or 
            using any funds for an SRTS construction project 
            encompassing a freeway, state highway, or county road to 
            ensure that the project does not conflict with the CHP's 
            Pedestrian Corridor Safety Program and that the project 
            is consistent with its statewide pedestrian safety 
            statistical analysis.

          4.Encourages Caltrans to coordinate with law enforcement 



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            agencies' community policing efforts in establishing and 
            maintaining the SRTS program.

          This bill:

          1.Adds the following factors to those that must be 
            evaluated by Caltrans when awarding SRTS grants:

                 Use of a public participation process, including a 
               public meeting that involves the public, schools, 
               parents, teachers, local agencies, the business 
               community, key professionals, and others; identifies 
               community priorities and gathers community input to 
               guide the development of projects included in the 
               proposal; and ensures that community priorities are 
               reflected in the proposal.

                 Benefit to a low-income school, defined as a school 
               where at least 75 percent of the students are eligible 
               to receive free or reduced-price meals under the 
               National School Lunch Program.

          2.Requires Caltrans, when developing SRTS program 
            guidelines, to consider fully the needs of low-income 

          In 1999, AB 1475 (Soto), Chapter 663, established the state 
          SRTS program, the first in the nation, for the construction 
          of bicycle and pedestrian safety and traffic calming 
          projects that improve safety and promote walking and 
          bicycling to school.  In 2005, the federal transportation 
          funding bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
          Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, established 
          a federal SRTS program.  Caltrans administers both the 
          state and federal programs, but administers them as 
          distinct programs because they are subject to different 
          requirements under state and federal laws.  This bill makes 
          changes only to the state program.

          In administering the state SRTS program, Caltrans 
          determines how much will be made available to each of 
          Caltrans' 12 districts in proportion to the number of 



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          students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, with 
          no district receiving less than $500,000 per funding cycle. 
           State law permits "local government agencies" to submit 
          applications, though Caltrans restricts applicants to 
          cities and counties.  Cities and counties must work 
          collaboratively with other local partners, including school 
          officials and community stakeholders, to develop project 
          proposals.  Each Caltrans district office ranks each 
          proposal it receives, based on the criteria outlined in 
          statute, and forwards the top ranked proposals to Caltrans 
          headquarters for final approval.
          TARC report  .  In February 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger 
          directed Caltrans and the Safe Routes to School Technical 
          Assistance Resource Center (TARC) to study the 
          socio-economic status of federal and state SRTS grantees 
          and to research ways to increase low-income schools' and 
          communities' access to these programs.  TARC is a joint 
          project of the California Department of Public Health and 
          the University of California, San Francisco.  In June 2010, 
          TARC released an analysis which found that low-income 
          schools, defined as those with 75 percent or more of 
          students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, receive 
          more federal and state SRTS grants than schools in middle- 
          or high-income categories.  Specifically, low-income 
          schools, which represented about 33 percent of California 
          schools, received 44 percent of all federal infrastructure 
          grants compared to 30 percent and 26 percent of middle- or 
          high-income schools, respectively.  In addition, low-income 
          schools received 36 percent of federal non-infrastructure 
          grants, compared to 32 percent each for middle- and 
          high-income schools.  Finally, low-income schools received 
          35 percent of state SRTS grants, compared to 32 percent and 
          33 percent of middle- and high-income schools, 
          respectively.  The TARC analysis noted that the low-income 
          schools did not submit more applications than the middle- 
          or high-income schools.

          According to the TARC report, "low-income communities 
          continue to suffer disproportionately higher rates of 
          obesity and pedestrian/bicycle injury than their 
          higher-income counterparts."  The report noted, however, 
          that Caltrans had already taken steps to encourage the 
          participation of low-income communities in SRTS, such as 



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          adding free and reduced-price meal eligibility data from 
          schools in application requirements and directing Caltrans 
          district staff to meet with unsuccessful applicants to 
          review applications and provide recommendations for future 
          applications.  TARC recommended that "Caltrans continue the 
          excellent steps it has already begun and place a special 
          focus on providing training and technical assistance to 
          low-income communities."  The report also recommended 
          setting a goal to increase the number of low-income schools 
          that participate in the SRTS programs by at least five 
          percent in future funding cycles, which could be achieved 
          through measures such as additional technical assistance 
          and involving low-income and other community advocates in 
          the local review process.

           Related Legislation
          Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 2147 (V. 
          Manuel Pérez), which was largely the same as this bill.  
          The Governor's veto message noted that:

               "While this bill is intended to enhance the position 
               of low-income communities to compete for SRTS funds, 
               based on the recent success of those communities 
               receiving SRTS program funding, this bill may be 
               unnecessary.  A recent review of the SRTS Program 
               determined that low-income schools, which comprise 
               approximately one-third of California schools, have 
               received 35 percent and 44 percent of all SRTS grants 
               awarded over the past five years through the state and 
               federal programs, respectively.  Additionally, to the 
               extent funding is provided to weaker proposals 
               receiving additional credits by benefitting low-income 
               schools, this bill could have a negative impact on 
               project delivery and may not result in the intended 
               long-term increases in walking and biking that the 
               program funds are intended to encourage." 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/9/11)

          PolicyLink (source)



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          Advancement Project
          American Cancer Society
          American Diabetes Association
          Calexico Unified School District
          California Association of School Transportation Officials
          California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
          California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
          California State PTA
          California WALKS
          City of Westmorland
          Heber Elementary School District
          IBEW Local 569 San Diego
          Imperial County Board of Supervisors
          Imperial County Office of Education
          Imperial Unified School District
          Imperial Valley College
          Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program
          Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
          Los Angeles WALKS
          San Francisco Bay WALKS
          Sierra Club California
          The City Project

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/9/11)


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, 
          many child pedestrians are hit each year by motorists due 
          to lack of clearly delineated school zones and an excessive 
          number of vehicles speeding near schools.  Disadvantaged 
          and rural communities often lack the necessary 
          infrastructure, such as sidewalks, storm drains, and 
          stoplights, to keep these children safe.  While SRTS has 
          been a popular and effective program in ensuring that 
          schoolchildren are safe when walking or biking to and from 
          school, it is unclear whether the program targets those 
          communities most in need of safe routes.  In addition, the 
          author notes the lack of an established public 
          participation process in the development of SRTS grant 
          applications.  Finally, the author notes that a lack of 
          safe routes to schools has been linked to health problems: 



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          less than 15 percent of children walk or bicycle to school, 
          and 20 percent of children are considered overweight or 

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    WALKSacramento is concerned 
          with the provision adding the criterion of use of a public 
          participation process, including a public meeting.  
          WALKSacramento argues that it is unclear what entity is 
          supposed to convene the meeting, when in the process must 
          occur, and what entity pays the costs.  According to 
          WALKSacramento, "Several local jurisdictions have informed 
          us off the record that this unfunded and unclear burden 
          might cause them to reconsider even applying for Safe 
          Routes grants."

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  57-20, 6/2/11
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, 
            Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, Brownley, 
            Buchanan, Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, 
            Cedillo, Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Eng, 
            Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Furutani, Galgiani, 
            Gatto, Gordon, Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hill, Huber, 
            Hueso, Huffman, Lara, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, 
            Mitchell, Monning, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Perea, V. Manuel 
            Pérez, Portantino, Skinner, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, 
            Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Bill Berryhill, Donnelly, Beth Gaines, Garrick, 
            Grove, Hagman, Halderman, Harkey, Jeffries, Jones, 
            Knight, Logue, Mansoor, Morrell, Nielsen, Norby, Silva, 
            Smyth, Valadao, Wagner
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Gorell, Hall, Miller

          JJA:nl  8/9/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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