FABB appreciates David Tabue’s recent article for FFX Now that highlighted the challenges facing the continuation of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in Fairfax County.
He points out that FABB and other transit groups are worried that funding could end for the county’s SRTS programming, which helps students walk and bike to and from schools safely.
A new process for the previous federal funding program favored infrastructure projects rather education and safety programs and complicated the applications process this past year. The new transportation infrastructure bill passed last year, meanwhile, includes money for SRTS programs, but the application and award process may not bring funds in time for next year’s budget.
As pointed out in the article, FABB board member Jeff Anderson estimated that there’s been around a half million dollars budgeted for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) SRTS program since its inception eight years ago. At a FCPS school board meeting on February 24, Jeff spoke out on behalf of SRTS, and FABB followed up with a letter declaring:
The program under the guidance of Sally Smallwood has been a rousing success. However, as a result of VDOT grant money being no longer available and Sally’s second retirement from FCPS, the program will come to a screeching halt. There is still much work to be done.
We hope all FCPS School Board members will support and ensure this program is funded in the 2023 budget via the proposed amendment presented last night.
FCPS spokesperson Julie Moult recently commented that FCPS is working to see if it can fund the coordinator position. Chairman Jeff McKay has said the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider the SRTS funding requests in the upcoming county budget.
FABB will continue to press this issue with our elected county officials. Want to be a part of making bicycling better in Fairfax County for our kids? Contact us at [email protected].