Draft Senate transportation bill: Bad news for biking

The federal transportation bill is a major source of funding for biking projects in Michigan. As the bill has evolved over time, it’s become more supportive of biking projects.

That positive forward momentum maybe over with the latest draft bill called MAP-21.

Stay tuned for what steps we can take to push back on this.

From the League of American Bicyclists web site

Late last week, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works released their draft of the surface transportation authorization bill, the law that will determine transportation programs and funding. The?America Bikes Coalition?has reviewed the?600 page document?and issued the following statement:

The America Bikes coalition ? representing the nation?s leading bicycling and walking groups ? today expressed their appreciation for the continued inclusion of funding opportunities for biking and walking in MAP‐21.

America Bikes remains deeply concerned, however, that bicycling and walking programs suffer disproportionate cuts in funding in the new bill, and that significant additional activities are made eligible for these limited funds. We remain committed to working with the EPW Committee and full Senate to resolve these issues, especially in the light of the Senate?s continued, strong bi‐partisan support for bicycle and pedestrian funding as shown in several recent votes on the Senate floor.

The process of honoring the public?s strong support for these programs begins immediately with amendments that have been introduced already by Senate supporters of dedicated funding for non‐motorized transportation.

Specific concerns include:

1. The current dedicated funding programs for bicycling and walking are combined into one program, with significantly less funding;

2. An expanded list of eligible activities are added to this smaller funding pot, including such big‐ticket items as NEPA compliance and land acquisition for wetland mitigation; and

3. The proposed bill effectively allows states to completely opt out of the program and would allow all this money to be redirected to highway construction.

The America Bikes coalition calls on the leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to restore dedicated funding for bicycling and walking in MAP‐21 and remove the opt‐out provision that would encourage States to eliminate funding for these two modes altogether.

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