Brace Yourself: Here Comes Another Attack on Bike/Ped Funding

Projects like this pedestrian-friendly streetscaping in Bayonne, New Jersey, might not get built without the crucial support of the federal Transportation Alternatives Program. Photo: ##http://taimages.railstotrails.org/1-Ped-Bike-Facilities/Bayonne-StreetscapeBayonne-NJ/i-QWKnM2B##Rails-to-Trails Conservancy##
Projects like this sidewalk in Bayonne, New Jersey, might not get built without the crucial support of the federal Transportation Alternatives Program. Photo: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

If petty Congressional attacks on bike/ped funding were a drinking game, you’d be drunk by now. And now two House Republicans want to pour you another shot.

Reps. Sam Johnson (TX) and Vicky Hartzler (MO) have introduced a bill to eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program, the largest source of federal funding for biking and walking projects. TAP is today’s curtailed and underfunded version of what used to be known as Transportation Enhancements. Without it, simple infrastructure we all depend on — sidewalks, trails, crosswalks, bike lanes — would get even less support from the federal transportation program. Other activities that mitigate the environmental damage caused by roads, like stormwater management, would also lose an important source of funding.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy warns that the (perfectly-named) Right-of-Way for American Drivers Act of 2015 (H.R. 2609) could be offered as an amendment to a transportation funding bill that will be voted on as early as today. If not, the measure could find a home in the next transportation reauthorization, due in less than two months.

“Programs like TAP are in high demand,” said Patrick Wojahn, RTC’s director of government relations, in a statement. “Today, 12 percent of all trips in the United States are made by biking or walking. These active-transportation modes continue to grow as options for more and more Americans, yet we only invest 1.5 percent of surface transportation funds in these programs.”

Three hundred organizations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed a letter [PDF] urging Congress to support TAP.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A Bike-Ped State of the Union: 9.6% of Trips, 1.2% of Federal Funding

|
With the nation still digesting the State of the Union address, the Alliance for Biking & Walking picked an auspicious day to release their biennial Benchmarking report on America’s bike-ped behavior. The group’s bottom-line conclusion: federal transportation funding continues to disproportionately shortchange travelers powered by their own two feet. (Chart: Alliance for Biking & Walking) […]

Cyclists Laud LaHood’s Bike-Ped Advocacy

|
Several dozen cyclists rode to U.S. DOT headquarters today to present Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with a letter signed by hundreds of local bike-ped groups, hailing the former GOP congressman’s support for their cause during his first 16 months on the job. LaHood, at far right, during a tabletop speech at March’s National Bike Summit. […]

Federal Bike-Ped Funding Sets New High, With Much More Room to Grow

|
Graph: FHWA [PDF] Federal funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects reached a new high last year, according to a report released yesterday by the Federal Highway Administration. In terms of dollars, federal investment in walking and biking more than doubled compared to the previous high, set in 2007, thanks largely to an infusion of $400 […]

Bike and Ped Infrastructure Depends on Federal Funds, Too

|
With all the kerfuffle in Washington right now over the federal transportation law and the crisis in the Highway Trust Fund, it seems like an appropriate time to be reminded of the role that federal dollars play in funding bicycle infrastructure. Today, Streetsblog Network member DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner has a post doing exactly that: […]

Klobuchar & Webb: Dems’ Unlikely Opponents of Bike-Ped Investment

|
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) attempt to curb federal investment in bicycle and pedestrian paths, as well as other "transportation enhancements," was defeated on the Senate floor today — but it managed to pick up two unlikely Democratic supporters in the process. A college-age Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), with her father at right. (Photo: Klobuchar for […]

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, […]