Counties Raise Concerns for Unfunded School Route Mandate

On January 22, 2020, Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Senate to raise practical and cost-driven concerns and oppose SB 65 – Counties – Construction of Sidewalks and Crosswalks – Safe Alternative Routes to Public Schools. 

Although MACo supports the goal of this bill, as written it would create a significant unfunded mandate of an unknown amount for county governments to carry out a new state policy. 

From the MACo Testimony:

As a rule, MACo resists state policies that result in costly or burdensome local implementation. SB 65 would implement a costly, difficult mandate for county governments to construct any sidewalks and crosswalks necessary for students living in certain areas to travel to school. If the route to school is not subject to the jurisdiction of the county, this bill unfairly requires counties to develop a plan with the controller of the road and re-direct county resources in order to execute the plan.

Under state law, counties have no choice but to fund these costs – competing for limited local funds against education, school construction, public safety, roadway maintenance, and other essential public services.

. . .

MACo does not oppose creating safe opportunities for student access to schools, but does oppose the broadly mandated provisions currently within SB 65.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.