Posts Tagged ‘Recreational Trails Program’

Bike transportation funding: Avoiding a scare?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Despite the recent buzz about Governor Rick Snyder’s new state budget, it probably won’t greatly affect bike projects in Michigan. In Michigan, bike infrastructure funding mostly comes through the state law (called Act 51) and the federal transportation bill. It is the latter that caused more concern this week.

On Sunday night, we received the following heads-up from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:

Though we do not know details yet, we anticipate a congressional amendment that could do away with or hobble programs like Transportation Enhancements (the nation’s largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling), Recreational Trails Program and Safe Routes to School. Therefore, we are working with many other organizations to defeat such a damaging amendment.

Transportation Enhancements are perhaps the number one source of on-road and trail infrastructure funding. (The Recreation Trails Program funds trails, but in Michigan, it is focused nearly exclusively on DNR trails, including a mix of motorized and non-motorized.)

So it was welcoming news to read today that those cuts did not happen. Again, from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:

This is a heartening development, as our programs have been fiercely targeted in the past and many worthy programs are on the chopping block. We believe these programs were spared because of the groundwork you helped to lay over the past years to foster appreciation of trail, walking and bicycling investments. Thank you so much for your strong trail and active transportation advocacy!

The TIGER, Community Development Block grant, and Americorp programs are still at risk in House. Those funds could also pay for trails and trail workers.

Meanwhile the Whitehouse has released their proposed budget with a fact sheet specific to transportation. Perhaps of most interest to cyclists is the discussion on livability and sustainability.

Helps Communities to Become More Livable and Sustainable. Fostering livable communities—places where coordinated transportation, housing, and commercial development gives people access to affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation—is a transformational policy shift.  The Administration’s reauthorization proposal adopts a multi-pronged approach to help communities achieve this goal.  For example, in the Federal Highway Administration, the Administration proposes a new livability grant program ($4.1 billion in 2012 and $28 billion over six years) for projects like multi-modal transportation hubs (where different forms of transportation converge) and streets that accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access.  The proposal also seeks to harmonize State and local planning requirements and facilitate more cooperation—and includes competitive grant funding ($200 million in 2012 and $1.2 billion over six years) to improve those entities’ ability to deliver sound, data-driven, and collaboratively-developed transportation plans.  The Budget also includes $119 billion for transit programs over six-years, more than doubling the commitment to transit in the prior reauthorization for both existing capacity and capacity expansion.  This unprecedented increase for buses, subways, and other systems of public transportation will help improve and expand travel options and help make our communities more livable.

If the Whitehouse could get this livability grant program through Congress, there is little doubt Detroit has a number of planning efforts that could take advantage of it.

Michigan stands to lose millions in trail funding

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) contained a provision whereas unspent transportation money could be pulled back from the states. It’s called a rescission and it took affect at the end of last month.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan is set to lose nearly $257 million in transportation funding.

Some of these transportation funds help us build non-motorized facilities and trails.

The biggest funding source is Transportation Enhancements. It’s helped build trails like the Conner Creek Greenways and Clinton River Trail. It’s also helping fund new bike lanes across Michigan.

According to an MDOT estimate, that fund is set to $13.1 million due to the rescission.

Another funding source is the Recreational Trails Program, which is administered by the DNR. With a rescission, the fund could lose $1.9 million.

Other federal transportations programs such as Safe Routes to School may also lose money.

Michigan is not alone on this. Other states are making similar cuts. Congress could override this rescission, but it’s not looking too likely at this time.

National Bike Summit “Asks”

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

img_2187Liz from Continental Bikes asked the question “What legislation did you discuss with the representatives?”

In looking over the previous entries, it seems we never really answered that question. So here’s the list.

Complete Streets

Actually this is one topic we did cover fairly well.

Active Transportation 2010

In the current federal transportation bill, four U.S. cities received $25 million each to get more people chosing biking and walking over driving.?

The hope is to expand that pilot program to 50 cities in the next transportation bill due later this year. Three Michigan cities have applied for this program: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. We encouraged our legislators to include these Michigan cities in the future transportation bill.

Detroit’s Active Transportation proposal was briefly discussed earlier.

Transportation Enhancements

The current transportation bill (and recent stimulus package) funds Transportation Enhancements which is largely responsible for funding biking facilities and trails. We want to see this program continued and increased the next transportation budget.

This was an easy program to talk about since there many great examples of how this funding has been used within each congressional district.

Recreational Trail Program

This program captures a portion of the fuel tax used by off-road vehicles (e.g. snowmobiles) and directs to state trails, including non-motorized trails. We advocated for increased funding for this program.

Multi-Modal Commuter Credit

This legislation fixes the hastily passed bike commuter bill, which is another topic we previously discussed briefly.

Clean TEA

This legislation would take some of the funds generated through a cap-and-trade greenhouse gas program to pay for alternative transportation infrastructure, including biking and walking. Whether or not the greenhouse gas legislation makes it to the President’s desk remains to be seen, but if it does, we want to make sure it helps promote more non-polluting transportation choices.

There’s additional information on Clean TEA?at StreetsBlog.