Contact your SCDOT Commissioner, HERE, with the text below.
Dear SCDOT Commission:
We respectfully request that SCDOT make a change this year, by not transferring 50% of Transportation Alternatives funding back into the general Highway Fund.
SCDOT has a federal funding stream called Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), also known as the Surface Transportation Program Set Aside program for Transportation Alternatives. This funding is reserved for projects with a focus on biking and walking, and while most transportation funding streams can be used for this purpose, the TAP funds are a dedicated pool. Unfortunately, our state has regularly transferred half of this dedicated funding source back to the Surface Transportation Program for general use. Out of the $59.4 million that South Carolina has received for Fiscal years 2013 – 2016, SCDOT has consistently transferred the max 50%, which is $29.2 million over 4 years.
This significant amount could otherwise be used on Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking projects. TAP requires that SCDOT hold a competitive process to allow local applicants from all Metropolitan Planning Organizations with less than 200,000 people to apply.
We request that SCDOT make a change this year, because we believe this is necessary since recent statistics indicate 95% of SC’s bicycle and pedestrians fatalities and 85% of bicycle and pedestrian injuries occur on state owned roads, while at most 70 percent of SC’s roads are state owned. Therefore, bicycle and pedestrian safety is a state road problem that requires mitigation specifically at the state level.
And finally, SC Code Title 23, Ch.1, Section 59 (Education), Ch. 67, Article 3 (SECTION 59-67-420), states that if pupil transportation directly adjacent to schools is “hazardous”, then the General Assembly will pay for their safe transportation via hazard bussing money administered by the SC Department of Education. (“The state may assume the obligation of transporting students within one and one half miles and three tenths of a mile walking distance of their residences when it is for the health and safety of the students where hazardous traffic conditions are involved…”).
In lieu of burdening the General Assembly with annually appropriating hazard busing services and funding, it is reasonable to alternatively move towards making available the full 100% of TAP funds for safe infrastructure. Thank you for your time.