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At a time when future bicycling funding is threatened, a look back

Funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects is under attack.

1. Transportation Enhancements, a key funding source, has survived repeated direct attacks in the Senate, thanks to bicyclists speaking up.

2. The outline of the House transportation re-authorization bill would entirely eliminate Transportation Enhancements, along with the Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails programs. Even the vague language about eligibility seems to imply that states would have to jump through additional hoops to use federal funds on bicycling and walking projects.

3. We had to fight hard in the Senate to maintain even¬†diminished¬†dedicated funding. Not to mention the mandatory sidepath law¬†inserted into the bill that threatened bicyclists’ right to roads on public lands.

But what would it look like if we didn’t have Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to Schools (and the non-motorized transportation pilot program) and the Recreational Trails program?

Here’s the amount of federal money states have spent on bicycling and walking projects each year since 1992:

Click to enlarge.


We’ve seen tremendous growth over the past twenty or so years, with a notable spike during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus. Active transportation projects are popular and local and regional agencies are increasingly calling for these types of projects, but they need support from federal funds.

Here is where the funds came from, by funding program:

What if we didn’t have Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School & the Pilot Program, and Recreational Trails?

Just imagine all for trails, bridges, and road facilities that would not exist without the blacked out funds.

Now, here’s the picture for FY2011, using newly released numbers from the Federal Highway Administration:


And without dedicated funds?

Pretty bleak. As these charts illustrate, it is going to be a critical year for the¬†National Bike Summit¬†to maintain dedicated funding for bicycling and walking projects and fight for bicyclists’ rights. Register now.

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