Both in DC and in RI there are serious threats to the continued development of our bike path system.
The GOP dominated US House of Representatives is poised to pass a transportation bill that reduces transportation spending by almost 1/3 to match revenues generated by a Federal gas tax of 18.4 cents/gallon that has not been raised since 1993. The bill eliminates any requirement for funding any bike or pedestrian programs though states are to be permitted to continue these progams.
However, anticipating this, and since we have great need for expensive repairs to many major (and minor) bridges and roadways, (as do almost all states) RIDOT has drafted a 2013-2016 transportation improvement program (TIP) that basically eliminates the bike/pedestrian program. except perhaps for safe-routes-to-school. Pavement management and local highway improvements also could take a big hit.
By the way, Amtrak would also lose much support, or perhaps be eliminated entirely under the guise of “privatization” though some may remember Amtrak exists because the private operators could not continue any service.
While the Senate would also have to act on the Federal bill, my take is that this is an example of how the successful anti-tax movement is ruining the country’s infrastructure and leaving us dependent on expensive imported oil.
There are still earmarks remaining to extend the West Bay and Northwest paths, but they too may be at risk for recision, as are already approved funds for ugrading the railroad infrastructure here.
Bicylcists who don’t care about the paths since they commute entirely on-road stil shoud be concerned about reduced local road maintenance and the lack of a critical mass of bicyclists that the paths help create, needed to get ocontinued support for more favorable on-road conditions.