America Bikes Analysis of Latest National Transportation Bill



America Bikes Analysis of Latest National Transportation Bill

Many of you may have heard Congress has been burning the midnight oil recently to extend a Federal Transportation Bill before a deadline next Monday.  There have been a lot of rumors floating around that there would be negative impact on Federal funds for pedestrian and bicycling projects.  It now appears the bill is out of committee and will come up for a vote on Friday.  The news is not good for cycling.  According to a report coming from America Bikes this bill:

Cuts available biking and walking funds by 60 to 70 percent. Biking and walking programs are combined into a single program, Transportation Alternatives, with drastically reduced funding.

Eliminates dedicated Safe Routes to School funding. The bill eliminates dedicated funding for the massively popular and cost-effective Safe Routes to School program, which helps make walking and biking to school safer for millions of American schoolchildren. 

Weakens local control. The new transportation bill allows states to opt-out of half of the funds potentially available for small-scale biking and walking projects. Whereas the bi-partisan Senate bill allowed local governments and planning entities to compete for 1% of transportation funds, the new bill allows states to opt-out of the local grant program completely.

Makes biking and walking compete with new, expensive eligibilities. Eligibilities such as road uses and environmental mitigation have been added to Transportation Alternatives, making it harder for local communities to compete for funding for local biking and walking projects.

This two-year bill represents a major step backwards in transportation policy for transportation choices and healthy physical activity. Despite this temporary setback in national policy, bicycling and walking will continue to grow and gain support, and Americans will continue to demand safer, more accessible streets and communities. Going forward, biking and walking will return to a central place in America’s transportation policies and programs.

This will certainly not make our job as advocates easier.  Hopefully, we can continue to work with our local governments and RIDOT to make intelligent choices as they move forward with various infrastructure projects.  We will definitely need your help!  Please make a point of coming to our annual meeting and offering up what you can to help continue advocating for cycling!


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  • Mark Dieterich
    Jun 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Here is their full analysis of 2012 MAP-21.

  • barry
    Jun 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

    well, I read the full link (and recommend that others do so too) and on the whole it is bad news for biking, pedestrian, and safe-routes-to-school programs. However, in Rhode island, even though a lot of those programs are now much more optional, I think it is likely that the RIDOT, Statewide Planning program, and local interests will likely continue the programs as is, indeed this is scheduled in the current draft TIP, though we need to be visible to help ensure that this remains the case.
    Once again, the explanation is written up in a non-partisan way, but I know the political reality is that House tea-party type Republicans were out to destroy bike and ped programs (as well as environmental review and transit funding in which case they partially succeeded on the first of these but not the second) and the resulting compromise is what we got. Despite the increasing evidence we need to combat climate change, obesity, and the environmental and geopolitical consequences of energy dependence, this Congress has in many ways done the opposite of what needs to be done.

  • Labann
    Jul 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    They create new policies, yet neglect to change laws. The Code of Federal Regulations flat out demand states accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. Then conservatives yank funding, so it remains a distant dream. No wonder state legislators don't know how to respond. There is no law that demands you ignore constituent needs and suspend complete streets initiatives. It makes no fiscal demand to consistently restripe to leave an adequate shoulder whenever repaving, especially along identified corridors linking existing bike paths via sidestreets already appropriately signed. It does cost money to redesign striping to flow more motor vehicles at the expense of self propelled traffic.