Policy Priorities from League Advocates
We asked: You answered
Thanks to everyone who filled out our surveys on what the League’s federal policy priorities should be. We learned a lot! I really appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments shared. The results of the surveys are included in this presentation.
The League did two surveys. One was of League members and advocates. Over 4000 advocates representing all 50 states responded to this survey. The other survey was done in conjunction with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). This survey went out to APBP members, including planners, engineers and professional advocates, as well as to Executive Directors and Policy Directors at League organization members. 195 people from 38 states responded. This second survey included detailed questions about specific funding sources and policies.
This blog includes lessons learned from League members and advocates. A second blog will cover lessons learned from the APBP/League leaders survey.
Major Themes from “What’s your best idea for federal policy?”
1. Build Connected Networks. The most common solution/ policy idea was to build safe and accessible infrastructure networks for everyone, the funding to pay for it, and the policies to require or encourage it. There was a specific concern with connecting underserved communities to destinations across the networks. Many respondents also commented on the need for more accessible and better connected transit.
2. Distracted Driving is a HUGE concern. More than anything else people are concerned with distracted driving. The passion for universal and forceful enforcement is palpable when reading the comments.
3. Strong belief in education, and experiential education. Another common answer was education- education for drivers, law enforcement, cyclists and the public. Several of you want to see politicians, police and planners ride bikes regularly to experience the roads first hand!
4. Need for more and more inclusive public input into transportation plans. Several of you highlighted the need for a more inclusive public input process when planning and designing for transportation in general and biking and walking in particular.
5. Create incentives for biking, remove incentives for driving. Another major theme for policy solutions was to create and improve incentives for people biking whether that be a better commuter tax benefit or health insurance benefit. On the flip side, many folks zeroed in on removing free parking in downtown areas, eliminating the parking tax benefit (costs the government $3 billion a year), and raising the gas tax to cover the true cost of driving.
The purpose of the survey is to help the League identify priorities as we move forward into a new Congress and a new Administration. The League will incorporate these comments and the results of the survey to help us determine or federal policy platform. In the meantime, here’s an early response to your comments.
On Connected Networks
Over the last few years the League has worked with the Transportation Equity Caucus to advocate for a performance measure that would measure how well low-income communities, and underserved communities are connected to jobs, schools and health care through the transportation system. The goal is to promote connected transportation networks for all communities- and across all modes-driving, transit, biking, walking and rolling
There is some encouragement language attached to the House transportation 2018 appropriations (budget) bill. While it’s unclear if that language will remain. (We’re still waiting to see what Congress does about a budget). We will continue to promote this, and look for other legislative options to promote connected networks for all communities.
On Education and Enforcement
In the FAST Act transportation bill that passed in 2015, there was a new funding program for funding bicycle and pedestrian safety. The law required that states whose bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities equaled more than 15 percent of their overall traffic fatalities would be eligible for new funding for education and enforcement on bicycle and pedestrian safety. That money can be spent on:
- Training of law enforcement officials on State laws applicable to pedestrian and bicycle safety;
- Enforcement mobilizations and campaigns designed to enforce State traffic laws applicable to pedestrian and bicycle safety; and
- Public education and awareness programs designed to inform motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists of State traffic laws applicable to pedestrian and bicycle safety.
The League will continue to look for opportunities to ensure this program is implemented effectively as well as for new opportunities to influence better and equitable enforcement to keep our roads safe for bicyclists and everyone.
Politicos on Bikes
We agree that experiencing biking is a great way to educate decision makers, and we look forward to working with all of you to make that happen. The League would love to work with you and local advocacy organizations to get members of Congress and others out to biking events, and on bike rides. If you are interested in helping us with that (and didn’t already give us your email in the survey), please contact me at [email protected].
Inclusive Public Input
This is good timing to think about the planning process! The League just started to weigh on this. In the Vision Zero Bill we promoted last year, we included language about a robust planning process, but there is more we can do and we look forward to working with the Transportation Equity Caucus and others to look for opportunities.
Another great suggestion. Current transportation leaders in Congress are more interested in incentives than in regulations. We will look for opportunities to create stronger incentives to build an accessible multi-modal transportation system.
Thank you again for your input and your support of the Bike League as we design our policy platform moving forward.