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BFS: Infrastructure & Funding

The Infrastructure & Funding category has long been one of the lower scoring categories that make up our Bicycle Friendly State rankings.

In this category we ask tough questions about the infrastructure that is actually on the ground, the money from state and federal programs actually committed to bicycling and walking, and state goals and policies that affect funding and building decisions. When looking at long-term average spending on bicycling and walking as a percentage of all federal transportation funds, we see that less than 2% has been spent on bicycling and walking projects. It is not particularly surprising then that states tend to score low in this category. 

One of the major trends in this category has been that states are increasingly dedicating state funding to biking. This past year, three new states reported dedicating state funds to biking projects. Now 18 states dedicate state funding to biking projects. This may show that states are stepping up as the federal government has decrease the amount of funding for programs that have traditionally funded bicycling and walking infrastructure.

However, to make sure that states can successfully leverage these commitments federal transportation funding is essential, both for programs that primarily benefit bicycling and walking and for all programs where bicycling and walking are eligible. The League through our federal government relations, National Bike Summit, and Advocacy Advance partnership with the Alliance for Biking and Walking is actively involved in ensuring that the next transportation bill works for communities and states in ways that will increase public funding for bicycling and walking. 

California was a standout in the Infrastructure & Funding category this year. Through some great advocacy work coordinated by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and including California WALKS, California Bicycle Coalition, Rails to Trails Conservancy, PolicyLink, TransForm, Prevention Institute, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and the Public Health Institute, $129 million was set aside for pedestrian, bicycle, trails, and Safe Routes to School programs in an Active Transportation Program fund. This $129 million included $83 million in federal funds and $46 million in state funds. This great success contributed to California earning the highest score in the Infrastructure & Funding category of any state this year.