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Top 10 problems with the proposed House transportation bill
By popular demand, you can now read the top ten list of reasons the proposed House transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, is terrible for bicycling and livable communities.
And you can still watch Andy Clarke spell it out here:
TAKE ACTION TO SAVE CYCLING
Top 10 Reasons the House’s Proposed Transportation Bill is
Bad for Biking and Walking
10. No traffic calming.
Under current law, traffic calming and bicycle/pedestrian safety are eligible for funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The House’s proposed bill would make traffic calming and bike/ped safety ineligible for funding, encouraging faster, more dangerous streets.
9. More unsafe rumble strips.
Current law requires that rumble strips on roads “do no adversely affect the safety and mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.” The proposed House bill eliminates this language, allowing for unsafe placement of rumble strips that create deadly safety hazards for people riding bicycles.
8. No bike/ped technical assistance.
Currently, when a state or local community is interested in making their streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, they can turn to clearinghouses for information about funding sources, best practices, and other technical assistance. The House’s transportation bill would eliminate bicycle/pedestrian and Safe Routes to School clearinghouses, making it harder for states and local communities to find technical assistance.
7. No state-level staff support.
Today’s federal transportation laws require states to keep Bicycle/Pedestrian specialists and Safe Routes to School Coordinators on staff. As huge agencies with thousands of employees, state Departments of Transportation benefit from having one or two people familiar with biking and walking issues. The House bill would eliminate these positions, effectively making state DOTs less familiar with bicycling and walking safety.
6. No transit funds for bicycling.
Under current law, transit funds can be used for projects that make it safer and easier to ride a bike to and from bus stops, subway stations, and train stations. Even though bicycle parking at transit stations, bike access to transit, and bike-sharing are cost-effective fixes that improve safety, the proposed House bill would eliminate federal support for these projects.
5. No rail trails.
Current transportation laws allows for the use of federal funding in converting abandoned railroad corridors into walking and biking trails. The House’s proposed transportation bill makes rail trails ineligible for federal funding.
4. No safe access on bridges.
Under current law, when states do work on a bridge that has bicycle or pedestrian access on either side, they are required to build safe bicycle or pedestrian access across the bridge itself. Even though it’s only logical that people on traveling by bicycle or by foot should be able to cross bridges safely, the proposed House bill eliminates the requirement that states provide bridge access for walkers and bicyclists when it makes the most sense.
3. CMAQ is gutted.
Under current law, states can receive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding to support projects that reduce transportation-related pollution. Currently, states use CMAQ dollars to support bicycling and walking infrastructure, which are proven to help reduce air pollutants by encouraging people to walk or bike instead of drive.
No longer. The House bill would change CMAQ by making congestion reduction, not air quality, the operative measure for eligibility. In other words, in order to qualify for CMAQ funding, a project doesn’t need to reduce air pollution; it just needs to be “likely” to reduce congestion. Under this new definition, the construction of new highway lanes qualifies for CMAQ funding. If the House bill were to become law, states would likely allocate CMAQ funds for highway construction at the expense of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly projects.
2. Safe Routes to School is eliminated.
In the House bill’s own words, the Safe Routes to School Program is “repealed.” This wildly successful program helped communities fund transportation infrastructure and education to keep kids safe on their bike rides and walks to school and encourage healthy activity.
Despite the program’s success and very low cost, the House bill would completely eliminate the program, reversing years of progress in making streets safer for kids.
…And the number one problem with the House transportation bill is…
1. Transportation Enhancements is gone.
For the past twenty years, Transportation Enhancements has helped communities build the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe on the streets. As less than 1% of all federal transportation spending, this tiny yet effective program financed projects that made it easier, more convenient, and much safer to walk or ride a bike.
The proposed House transportation bill eliminates bicycling’s most significant funding source by making Transportation Enhancements optional. Rather than finding new ways for towns and cities to keep bicycle riders and pedestrians safe on the streets, states will be encouraged to use these dollars to build wider, faster, more dangerous arterials and highways.
Please TAKE ACTION today to save cycling!
In addition to BikeLeague.org, please visit AmericaBikes.org for more on the transportation bill.