The case for dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funding in the federal transportation bill
LAB — Representative John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recently introduced an outline of his proposed transportation bill. The proposal eliminates all dedicated funding for bicycling and walking – programs such as transportation enhancements, recreational trails and safe routes to schools program – and maintains “eligibility” for these activities only if states choose to spend their funds on these kinds of activities and these meet [undetermined] performance measures and are in the national interest.
Since 1991, states have spent just over 1% of their transportation funds on bicycling and walking – even though these two modes now account for 12% of all trips and 14% of all fatalities in traffic crashes. These critical transportation modes connect people to jobs, friends and family, goods and services; they provide healthy, clean, efficient, and sustainable ways for kids to get to and from school; and they are increasingly popular and economically vital forms of recreation. Recent studies show that in addition to providing these benefits, investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure is very cost-effective and creates more jobs than traditional highway-only projects.