Cautious Optimism From the Senate
Word is coming down from America Bikes that
After several long weeks of intense work from advocates around the country, the Cardin-Cochran Amendment has been accepted as part of the base Senate transportation bill, MAP-21.
If MAP-21 ends up becoming law, the language from this amendment will ensure that local governments, school systems, and metropolitan planning organizations are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safe and accessible.
With the acceptance of the Cardin-Cochran amendment, here is how MAP-21 would work, assuming the overall bill passes:
- The Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails programs are consolidated into a new program called Additional Activities.
- State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) will make their Additional Activities funding available to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local governments. Here’s how they’ll allocate the funds:
- The state DOT will allocate fifty percent of the Additional Activities, based on population, to MPOs and rural areas. MPOs will then distribute the funds through a competitive grant program for projects in their communities.
- For the remaining 50% of Additional Activities, the state DOT would host its own competitive grant process for projects. Local governments, school districts, and others would be eligible to compete for this funding.
If it becomes law, this legislation would ensure that local governments and communities have a voice in the transportation decisions that affect their streets. The safeguards included in MAP-21 would ensure that communities of every size benefit from making their own localized transportation decisions for safe streets.
Much can still change before the transportation bill becomes law, but this certainly signifies some good trending.