House Transportation Bill Takes Even More Steps for Safe Routes

On Friday, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee introduced the INVEST in America Act, their version of the surface transportation bill. It looks great for bicycling and walking. Similar to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) bill released last week, it includes programs and policies that promote bicycling and walking through significantly increased funding for active transportation infrastructure. Specific to Safe Routes to School, the bill re-codifies the program into current law, expands it to high schools, encourages states to fund Safe Routes out of their core transportation funds, and requires full-time state SRTS coordinators. (UPDATE:  The House bill passed the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, June 9, 2021).  

While the Senate EPW bill won support from Republicans on the committee, this House bill is not bipartisan. The Democrats have a three vote majority in the House of Representatives, so getting the bill through the House could be as tricky as getting the bipartisan EPW bill through the Senate with 10 Republican votes!  

As a way to increase the House bill’s chances, Chairman DeFazio included Member Designated Projects (earmarks) for both Democratic and Republican members, and included many of the bipartisan amendments added to the bill of the same name last year with the hope of getting bipartisan support. However, the bill’s emphasis on climate, and the sheer size of the bill ($547 billion over five years) were too much for Republican leadership to support.  That will put the House bill at a disadvantage if the bills get to the conference committee where Democrats and Republicans of both the House and Senate work together to come up with a consensus bill.

Along with addressing climate change, the bill strives to add a new emphasis on environmental justice and transportation equity. It requires such considerations in both state and metropolitan planning programs, and adds consideration of effects to environmental justice and transportation equity to most grant programs, including things like new highways and freight route changes which cause air and noise pollution, as well as community disconnection disproportionately impacting low income communities.

In addition, in partnership with the Transportation Equity Caucus, the League of American Bicyclist was successful in getting changes to the 1906 program by promoting changes to the 402/405 programs in the bill that fund enforcement programs. While the League of American Bicyclists were unsuccessful in changing those programs, they were successful in getting changes to the 1906 program, which funds states to collect and analyze data on traffic stops and citations of drivers for racial and ethnic disparities. Now, the bill would enable the program to fund utilizing the data and working with the community and law enforcement to change policies and practices.

The House bill also includes some of the larger systemic changes that the League of American Bicyclists has been calling for, like a fix-it-first policy on highway construction, and new accessibility performance measures which are not in the Senate EPW bill. Please see the chart below for more details.


Current law (FAST Act)

Bike League/Safe Routes ask


Transportation Alternatives

Increased funding

Capped at $850 million

Increase to 10% of STP  (so that funding grows each year)


Local control

Large MPOs depend on state to implement project,

Small MPOs ineligible

Large MPOs can implement projects; small MPOs eligible


State flexibility to help local governments


States can help with local match and technical assistance



Priority for high need communities


States and MPOs must prioritize high need areas in project selection



Vulnerable road user (VRU) safety

States spend 1-2% on bike/ped safety

States with high levels of fatalities must invest in VRU safety


VRU safety assessments


Require of all states

Required for states with high fatalities

FHWA required to do national assessment

Integrate safe streets into safety program


Integrate into program throughout

Included in VRU assessment,

MUTCD reform on guidance setting speed limit


Safe Routes to School


Schools k-8

Expand to high school


Non- infrastructure

Not allowed in safety program

All both SRTS infrastructure and programming in safety program


Full time state Coordinators

Not required



Complete Streets and Accessibility

Standards and guidance

Minor inclusion

Detailed standards and guidance


State level grant program


Funding to retrofit existing streets with Complete Streets projects

Not included



Data program and performance measures

Performance measure

Walkway selection guide


Pedestrian guide to match bikeway selection guide


Connecting America’s Active Transportation

$500m/yr for grant program



$250m/yr for 4 years

Equity safeguards in enforcement programs (with Transportation Equity Caucus)

1906 Program (racial profiling)

Fund data collection and analysis

Include funding for policy/practices change


Biking/walking included


include stops of ppl biking, walking,etc.

Not included

402/405 programs that fund enforcement

Little oversight

Require states have policy against racial profiling

Not included

Performance measures

Greenhouse Gases


New performance measures




New performance measure


No regressive safety goals

Safety goals, but increased fatalities an acceptable goal

Disallow regressive performance measures