Twenty-nine trail projects in California have been recommended for funding in the second round of California’s 2015 Active Transportation Program (ATP), the largest single funding source for biking, walking and trails in the state. The winning projects reflect a wide range of urban, suburban and rural projects that will provide safe and healthy ways for people of all ages to commute to work and school and get to shops, businesses and community destinations.
Of note are a few projects that have received RTC partner support over the years, including: the Santa Cruz Coastal Rail Trail (Watsonville segment), San Diego’s Bayshore Bikeway and The Yellow Brick Road in Richmond’s Iron Triangle, the latter of which is recommended for a $6.2 million award!
More than 600 applications competed for funding in the 2015 call for projects, reflecting the heavy demand for bicycle, pedestrian and trail improvements across all regions of the state. Of these applications, 172 were trail projects or included a trail or separated bikeway component. This amounts to $385 million of the more than $1 billion in total funding requested.
The funding recommendations released last week are for the statewide and rural/small urban pots of funding, which constitute 60 percent of the ATP ($215 million) and will go to the California Transportation Commission on Oct. 22 for final approval. The 29 successful trail projects will receive approximately $64 million, or about 30 percent of the total recommended awards.
The remaining 40 percent is the regional share; these funds will be programmed by metropolitan planning organizations, which are expected to finalize their decisions in November and December. We expect trails to perform favorably in that portion of the program, as they did last year.
RTC’s Western Regional Office was actively involved in shaping the legislation that created the ATP in 2013, and has since worked closely with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as a consultant for the program, providing technical assistance to applicants—particularly disadvantaged communities—to help them develop and secure funding for impactful active-transportation projects.
California’s ATP recognizes that active transportation is an essential component of a multi-modal transportation system and an important strategy for reaching the state’s goals of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The ATP also aims to increase biking and walking trips and improve safety, enhance public health and ensure that disadvantaged communities fully share in the benefits of the program.
As a substantial investment in both active transportation and environmental justice, the ATP is big step in creating the active, healthy and sustainable communities that we all wish to see moving forward.
For the complete list of projects recommended for funding, and for general information on the ATP, go to the California Transportation Commission website.
Special thank you to Daniel Plautz at RTC's Western Regional Office for helping to co-author this blog.