Friday, June 1, 2007


Rep. Khan wins the prize for quickest response to an e-mail inquiry to a government official. Three hours and one minute. (And I'm not even a constituent!)

I asked Rep. Khan what the difference between her proposed Safe Routes to School program and the existing program. Her answer: her bill takes advantage of a different funding source that will allow more money for infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, crosswalks, signs, signals, &c.). Rep. Khan's response after the jump. (Click on the "Read More ..." link.)

Seems to me like there must be some highly technical distinction because the bill cites federal grants under the SAFETEA-LU Strategic Highway Safety Plan and the current program is funded by SAFETEA-LU, generally.

I guess it would be less confusing if the bill called for the expansion of the existing program to take advantage of different funds, but any money to make it easier for kids to walk and bike to school is money worth pursuing.

Rep. Khan's response :

Thank you for your email and your questions [...]. The Tab article was a bit confusing and I plan to send a letter to the editor and to David Koses in an effort to provide more clarification. The bill that I introduced would add funding to the state's Safe Routes to School program - drawing from a different federal funding source than the new program that began this year and currently funds the MassRides effort. The existing Fiscal Year 2007 allocation to cover both state employees and all program and infrastructure costs is approximately $2.3m for all of Massachusetts. This budget does not go very far to address the needs of Massachusetts' students for safety improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks, signs and signals. The legislation that I proposed is modeled on the approach that California put in place in 1999, and that has allowed a number of communities to both encourage walking (and biking) and to build the infrastructure improvements which make walking safe. We would like to see the program funded at least at $5 million annually from the $14 million Highway Safety Improvement Dollars that Massachusetts receives annually.

Hope this helps - let me know if you need any more information. And, by the way MA has not yet started spending ANY infrastructure funds for SRTS.

Previously: Safe(r) Routes to School?

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