Monday, November 7, 2011
Senate transportation reauthorization bill a triple whammy for biking & walking
November 7th Legislative Report from Alliance for Biking and Walking:
The Senate version of a new two-year transportation authorization bill was released on Friday, and it does not preserve dedicated funding as we had been promised. Worse yet, it adds more eligible activities and gives an opt-out option all together.
Here is a quick analysis from America Bikes:
[Click here to see their side-by-side comparison.]
Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreation Trails Program are all lumped together into a smaller funding pot that is shared with some wetland mitigation banking uses for NEPA compliance AND road uses such as redesigning roads, HOV lanes, etc.
This bill does not address safety concerns, and it includes performance measures that look at project results versus network or system-wide effects. This will make it harder for bicycle and pedestrian projects to compete for CMAQ money.
This bill also keeps the name of Transportation Enhancements (which national bike/ped organizations would prefer to change) and broadens the use of enhancements to include new and expensive uses. In addition, it puts all of TE into a new pot called “Additional Activities.”
In summary it’s a triple whammy for biking and walking:
• Less money
• More competition
• It’s all optional
On the transit side, we understand that the transit funding share will remain the same at 20% and that there will be flexibility for transit in the bill. More details will be forthcoming on this section of the bill and many others.
On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will "mark up" the bill. Usually, this would give a chance for members of the committee to offer amendments to improve the bill, and those amendments would be debated and voted on. However, Wednesday’s committee mark-up is a sham. The “Big 4” — Senators Boxer (D-CA), Inhofe (R-OK), Baucus (D-MT) and Vitter (R-LA) — have stated they will vote together as a bloc to stop any amendment on either side from passinhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifg, so we don't expect any changes in the bill at this step.
In the next several days, our national partners, America Bikes, Transportation for America, Alliance for Biking and Walking, the National Complete Streets Coalition, etc. will be issuing analyses and statements about the bill, and we'll keep you abreast of important developments.
Stay tuned for future action alerts!
Click here to read the Nov. 8th statement by Bicycling and Walking Organizations in response to the Senate bill (called MAP-21).
Click here for an analysis of the bill by Transportation for America.