Majority Leader Harry Reid has incorporated much of the Ben Cardin/Thad Cochran amendment into the so-called “manager’s mark” of the Senate transportation bill. The move means that the amendment’s provisions letting local governments directly access funding from popular bicycle and pedestrian programs will be included in the bill without having to come up for a separate vote.
Without the Cardin-Cochran amendment, cities and towns looking to invest in safer streets for walking and biking would have been left at the mercy of their state DOTs, which could have prevented any bike/ped funding from being spent. The adopted provisions would put funding directly in the hands of local agencies, making it harder for state highway departments to funnel resources away from walking, biking, and complete streets.
The full Senate bill, including the Cardin/Cochran provisions, could face a cloture vote as early as Tuesday. Streetsblog will have more in-depth analysis later in the day of what this means for the Senate’s efforts to pass a transportation bill.