February 21, 2013 1 Comment
In May 2012 Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata announced that SCAG would create an Active Transportation Department at SCAG with three staff members and a $1 million dollar annual budget. SCAG had just finished its 2012 RTP/SCS and had heard from hundreds of stakeholders about their desire to improve conditions for active transportation.
In July, it seemed like the announcement was coming true, when SCAG revealed that it had created the Active Transportation Department as part of its internal reorganization. This announcement coincided with SCAG creating a new Active Transportation Subcommittee to guide the 2016 RTP process. SCAG also took promising steps forward by signing a joint MOU with Metro to work on active transportation and SCS related planning projects. In November, things still seemed to be moving along as SCAG issued a job posting for the new Active Transportation Management Position which sparked another round of enthusiasm as the applications started to file in.
However, the first few weeks of 2013 found SCAG in a difficult position. SCAG is facing drastic budget reductions in operational funding from Caltrans and the FHWA. Ironically, these budget cuts are happening at the same time that SCAG has been tasked with allocating the Transportation Alternatives Grant program under MAP 21 (previously Transportation Enhancements administered by each county). There are also whispers that SCAG my be responsible for allocating state funding through the new Active Transportation Account in the Governor’s new budget. So the question is, how will SCAG meet its SB 375 goals and these added responsibilities without a strong active transportation department? Read more of this post