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Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passes with major funding for better biking
On Friday, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), which includes an unprecedented investment in transportation, including the first ever climate title in a transportation bill. The bill includes unprecedented levels of funding for active transportation and the safety of vulnerable road users, and it represents an important step towards building more livable communities.
Join our federal policy update webinar with Deputy Executive Director Caron Whitaker on Friday, Nov. 19, at 3pm ET. Register here »
Every five years, the League advocates for bigger and better federal investments towards building a Bicycle Friendly America for Everyone. In our advocacy, not only have we fought for larger investments in the programs that fund state and local efforts to build bike infrastructure, but also policies that ensure those funds are used to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, are spent equitably, and promote Complete Streets, a Safe System approach, and other frameworks for a transportation system that works for everyone.
Thanks to the strength of our numbers in membership and the voices of advocates like you, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is good for people who bike. From the hundreds of people who have taken part in Lobby Day at the National Bike Summit to promote improvements to Transportation Alternatives, safety, Complete Streets and accessibility, to the tens of thousands who have contacted Congress with the League, thank you for standing up for safer roads and better bicycling.
In collaboration to shape the bill, the League and the Safe Routes Partnership worked closely together on improving the Transportation Alternatives Program and bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Highway Safety Improvement Program and are pleased to see meaningful investments and policy changes included.
The bill is a great step forward that will build safer, more accessible communities for people who bike, walk, or use a wheelchair to get from place to place. It includes billions of dollars of in new funding for bicycling and walking, as well as first ever requirements for states to address bicycling and walking safety and to write complete streets policies and plans. The bill also includes funding for “Reconnecting Communities”, a program which addresses historical inequities in transportation, as well as requires stronger public participation in grant applications, with a focus on social equity and environmental justice.
“The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill represents a major win for bike advocates and everyone who rides a bike, from the delivery riders, to the daily commuters, to the weekend randonneurs,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The League began building the grassroots support for the investments in this infrastructure bill over the past four years, collaborating with state and local bicycling advocacy organizations as well as partners in Washington, DC, to shape a future transportation system where bicycling is an easy choice for more Americans to make in their everyday lives. We are excited about the opportunities ahead for states and communities to build back bicycle-friendly and to continue our work with advocates towards implementation and building a Bicycle Friendly America for Everyone.”
Here is a snapshot of the League’s priorities that are in the BIB:
- More than 60% increase in Transportation Alternatives funding
- Limits on when and how much a state can transfer
- Metropolitan Planning Organizations get a larger share of funding and obligation authority, meaning they can sign checks and get projects moving (before they had to wait for the state)
- State flexibility on the local match so states can use safety funds as local match or meet 80/20 requirements through grouping projects
- Requires every state to do a Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment looking at road classification, speed, demographics of surrounding area, etc.
- Requires states where 15% or more of roadway fatalities are vulnerable road users to spend 15% or more of Highway Safety Improvement Plan funds on vulnerable road user safety
- Requires FHWA to research best practices that both promote biking and walking and make biking and walking safer, including on arterial roads
- Sets aside State and MPO planning to create Complete Streets policy, standards, and plans
- Funds can also be used for all kinds of Active Transportation plans and/or plans that reduce single occupancy vehicle travel
- Pilot project to get better accessibility data to states and MPOs with the goal of improving connectivity
First ever climate title
- Two new programs focused on resiliency and promoting lower GHG emissions
- The bill updates the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to include a rating on ability to avoid crashes with Vulnerable Roads Users
- New headlight standards will require incorporating new technologies that should help reduce fatalities in the dusk and dark, and other updates include the crashworthiness of hoods and bumpers
Changes to 402 and 405 programs
- Allows for funds to be spent on demonstration projects and educating law enforcement and the public on the benefits of infrastructure in traffic safety
- Requires revisions of performance measures for 402
And there’s more
- $1.5 billion per year in RAISE grants
- Help for MPOs to understand how Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) projects affect low income communities
- A study on the role biking and walking can play in disaster relief
- A pilot project to deliver project prioritization criteria
- A study on whether CMAQ projects actually reduce GHG
For more details on what is in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, how the League’s priorities fared, and what’s next, please join Deputy Executive Director Caron Whitaker on Friday, November 19, at 3pm ET for a federal policy webinar. Register here »
The League looks forward to working with the US Department of Transportation, state Departments of Transportation and state and local bike advocates as we prepare for implementation of the new funding and policies. We also will continue to advocate for infrastructure programs that reinvest in communities hurt by transportation decisions of the past, and tax incentives, like the Bicycle Commuter Benefit and the e-bike tax rebate in the Build Back Better Reconciliation plan.