On December 7th, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved a total of $158,096,000 for 44 Statewide projects and 10 Small Urban and Rural walking and bicycling projects as part of the 2017 Active Transportation Program (ATP). The projects awarded included $24.3 million that was diverted from a single high-profile project in the Coachella Valley to five very high need communities across the state. The five new projects funded include the Central Avenue Complete Street Project in Alameda; pedestrian improvements along First Street in Santa Ana; the McGowan Parkway Bicycle Lane and Pedestrian Route Improvements in Yuba County; a regional Safe Bicycling and Wayfinding project connecting the cities of Compton and Carson; and Long Beach’s Citywide 8-80 Connections project.
The original CTC staff recommendation for the 2017 ATP grant cycle would have allocated almost one fifth of the funds available statewide to CV Link, a fifty-mile multi-use path connecting cities in the Coachella Valley. The path, intended for bicycles and pedestrians as well as “low-speed electric vehicles” such as golf carts, was missing data in its application and was inaccurately awarded too many points for benefiting disadvantaged communities.
The CalBike Policy Team conducted a thorough analysis of all the 2017 successful project applications, with particular emphasis on those projects that assured benefits to disadvantaged communities. Our analysis specifically aimed to verify that each project application accurately listed disadvantaged community data for neighborhoods adjacent to and “affected” by each project. Through this process we discovered the CV Link project error, and requested along with a coalition of our partners that the CTC reevaluate the score for CV Link.
As a result, the CTC adjusted the CV Link application score and revised its recommendation to reallocate funding to five other deserving projects–a big win for holding state and local governments accountable to their promise to ensure state funding for walking and bicycling projects goes to communities with the greatest needs.
This win was a result of many years of thorough advocacy for equity in transportation funding and careful oversight of the ATP. The priority on awarding ATP funding to disadvantaged communities and the specific point system in the application review process for these high-need communities is a direct result of advocacy by CalBike and our partners over the last four years. When the ATP was created in 2013, we pushed for one of the lead program goals to be to “provide benefits to disadvantaged communities.”
Each year since program inception we’ve worked tirelessly to influence and refine the program guidelines to ensure that the projects awarded contribute significantly to the equity goal. We’ll keep working in 2017 to increase state funding for biking and walking projects and ensure those funds are used most equitably and efficiently!