BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1194
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 1, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                   AB 1194 (Ammiano) - As Amended:  April 1, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                               
          TransportationVote:12-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill expands eligibility under the Safe Routes to School  
          (SR2S) program and requires a minimum funding level for the  
          program in the annual budget act. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Requires the SR2S program be funded with an annual  
            appropriation of at least $46 million in state and federal  
            transportation funds.

          2)Expands eligible use of state funds under SR2S to include  
            noninfrastructure-related activities, such as public awareness  
            efforts and training in bicycle and pedestrian safety, and  
            requires 20% of total SR2S funding to be used for this  
            purpose, with at least 20% of this portion to be used for a  
            statewide technical assistance resource center.

          3)Authorizes the Director of the Transportation Agency to  
            transfer responsibility for awarding grants from Caltrans to  
            the California Transportation Commission (CTC)

          4)Requires Caltrans to employ a full-time SR2S coordinator to  
            administer the program.

          FISCAL EFFECT  

          This bill establishes cost pressure by setting a minimum annual  
          allocation of $46 million in state and federal funds for SR2S,  
          including at least a $9.2 million annual set-aside from these  
          funds for non-infrastructure grants. Caltrans indicates that  
          annual administrative costs for the current state and federal  
          SR2S programs total almost $600,000.








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           COMMENTS  

           1)Background . The goal of both the federal and state SR2S  
            programs is to remove barriers that prevent children from  
            walking or biking to school. The federal program provides  
            grants for infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects  
            (such as education and enforcement).  The state program  
            provides grants only for infrastructure projects. In 1999,  
            California was the first state to enact its own SR2S program,  
            with dedicated funding from the State Highway Account, on the  
            premise that encouraging more children to walk and bicycle to  
            school would result in healthier children, improved air  
            quality, reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas  
            emissions, and less traffic congestion near schools. The state  
            SR2S program is to be funded at $46 million in the latest  
            annual cycle, and funds are distributed on a statewide,  
            competitive basis.  Applications exceed available funds by a  
            6:1 ratio. Typical projects include installing curbs,  
            sidewalks, traffic signals, crosswalks, warning signs, and  
            bike paths.

            With enactment of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st  
            Century Act (MAP-21) last year, the federal SR2S program was  
            collapsed along with an array of other existing programs into  
            a more simplified, substantially consolidated program,  
            referred to as the federal Transportation Alternatives Program  
            (TAP). California anticipates receiving $72 million in TAP  
            funds over the two-year life cycle of MAP-21.

           2)Administration's Proposal  . In response to the new federal  
            funding flexibility, the Administration proposes to  
            consolidate five existing programs into an Active  
            Transportation Program (ATP) within Caltrans.  The intent of  
            the ATP is to fund projects and programs that encourage  
            increased use of active modes of transportation, such as  
            walking and bicycling. The Administration proposes $138  
            million for the ATP in 2013-14. Under the proposal (contained  
            in a budget trailer bill), 50% of these funds would be awarded  
            through a statewide competitive program, 40% would be  
            allocated by formula to urban areas, and 10% would be  
            allocated on a competitive basis to small urban and rural  
            regions. Based on its review of this proposal, the Legislative  
            Analyst's Office has recommended approval albeit with a few  
            modifications.








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           3)Purpose  . The author introduced AB 1194 in response to concerns  
            that the Governor's proposal: (a) provides no minimum  
            guarantee for SR2S funding; (b) would be established after  
            existing programs are repealed (thereby impeding continuity of  
            the program); (c) does not provide adequate representation for  
            non-profit organizations in the ATP guideline development  
            process; (d) does not provide sufficient transparency with  
            regard to project awards; and, (e) would not adequately ensure  
            lower-income communities are appropriately considered in the  
            program's application process.

            At the time of this analysis, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee  
            on Resources and Transportation had made no decision regarding  
            the Governor's proposal.

           4)Minimum Statutory Funding Guarantee Ill-Advised  . While those  
            with a focused interest on any state program would prefer a  
            minimum statutory funding guarantee for that program, such an  
            approach reduces the Legislature's flexibility to react to  
            changing needs, priorities and resources. Moreover, since  
            future federal funding levels are never guaranteed,  
            particularly in the current federal fiscal environment, it  
            would be imprudent to establish minimum funding requirements  
            in statute based on past fund levels. Finally, at a time when  
            the federal government is providing the state with new funding  
            flexibility, it would be inconsistent for the state to then  
            earmark a portion of those funds in statute for a specific  
            program.

            The other programmatic issues raised by the author could be  
            considered within the context of the administration's trailer  
            bill proposal.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081