Given a Choice, NJ and PA Sacrifice Bike-Ped Funding

Last week, Tanya reported that many states have disproportionately raided their bicycle and pedestrian funds to pay for $2.2 billion rescinded by the feds.

Today the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia brings us an example of two guilty states. New Jersey and Pennsylvania hewed to the tendency among state DOTs to target Transportation Enhancements funds, which support active transportation investments, for cuts. Here’s how John Boyle at the Bicycle Coalition puts it in perspective:

Transportation Enhancements funding helps pay for sidewalks and bike lanes. Many states chose to return this money to the federal government. Photo: ##http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/Home/31933##Sustainable Cities Collective##

New Jersey and Pennsylvania dutifully gave back nearly $7 million each, think of the inequity here. $7 million dollars is just 0.35% of the estimated cost for the 7 mile I-95 Revive Project but is enough money to pave 7 miles of trails or sidewalks.

TE is often seen by state DOT’s as insignificant and an easy target for givebacks. Although TE receives 1 to 2 percent of all transportation funds annually, it bore the brunt of more than 25 percent of rescissions.

Boyle also points to a happy counterexample in the state of Delaware, which returned only 0.4 percent of its TE funding. The Bicycle Coalition is encouraging readers to send a letter to their governor protesting states’ low prioritization of pedestrians and cyclists. To see if your governor should be hearing from you, check out this guide from the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Let’s Go KC reports that Kansas City’s long-heralded low congestion rate evaporates under the alternative formula presented in the report issued last week by CEOs for Cities. Matthew Yglesias wonders why taxing land instead of property hasn’t gained more traction in the U.S. as a way to promote infill development and discourage sprawl. And the Bicycle Transportation Examiner provides the names of the 60 co-sponsors of the Complete Streets Act. Is your Congressional representative on the list?

  • Curious Observer

    Other states just think of creative ways to siphon off TE funds into roadway projects. When Virginia had to close highway rest stops do to budgetary constraints, Gov. McDonnell came up with a plan to open them back up again. All the Commonwealth Transportation Board had to do was just approved TE grants for a bunch of civil war interpretive kiosks in the rest stops around the state, I guess enhancing the transportation experience for those stopping for a bathroom break. And, voila, rest stops open again.

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