Friday, August 10, 2012

Florida advocacy groups send letter to FDOT on MAP-21 implementation recommendations

 On August 10th, BikeWalkLee joined forces with nine other statewide and local advocacy organizations throughout Florida to write a joint letter with recommendations to FDOT for implementation of MAP-21.  Click here to read the full letter.




August 10th, 2012


Secretary Ananth Prasad, Florida Dept. of Transportation

Florida Bicycle Association - Tim Bustos,
 Green Mobility Network - John Hopkins,
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy - Ken Bryan,
BikeWalkLee - Darla Letourneau,
Naples Pathways Coalition - Michelle Avola Reese,
South Florida Audubon Society - Doug Young,
Smart Growth Partnership – Marianne Whitfield,
Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation – W. Dale Allen,
South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers – Alan Snel,
Friends of the River of Grass Greenway - Maureen Bonness,

RE:  Proposal to Florida Department of Transportation:
MAP-21 Implementation Recommendations

We the undersigned organizations request that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implement the MAP-21 legislation in a way that fully funds, staffs, and implements the new Transportation Alternatives program as well as continues the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) and Recreational Trails (Rec Trails) programs.  All of these programs should maximize Florida's investments in safe and accessible streets in all transportation projects and work towards better connecting our communities with alternative transportation systems.  With Florida's ranking as the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists, and FDOT's stated commitment to addressing this problem, MAP-21 offers FDOT an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment by making the safety of pedestrians and cyclists its #1 transportation priority. 

It is hoped that by coming together as a common voice, and communicating our joint vision for this new federal legislation, it will demonstrate unity amongst many of the state’s leading advocacy organizations that support walking, bicycling, trails and alternative transportation and, as such, have impact and be considered useful.

Recommendations for MAP-21 implementation: 
We respectfully request that FDOT include the following elements in its implementation of the federal transportation bill:

1.  No transfer of ANY funds away from Transportation Alternatives (TA) – and continue a focus on walking, bicycling and trail facilities;

2.  Fund the Recreational Trails program at the previous funding level and not opt-out;

3.  Maintain the Safe Routes to School program at the previous funding level along with coordinators and bicycle-pedestrian program managers;

4.  Promptly award Transportation Alternatives grants with relevant stakeholders participating;

5.  Preserve spending authority to allow for 100% obligation and expenditure of these program funds;

6.  Honor the commitment to all previously awarded SRTS, TE and Rec Trails program projects.  Preserve TE reserves from SAFETEA-LU to provide funding where the specific project has not been identified in the 2012-2017 STIP.  For these funds, adopt a list of eligible projects which matches the SAFETEA-LU Transportation Enhancements project eligibility criteria, minus categories that were specifically eliminated in MAP-21 such as transportation museums;

7.  Adopt a complete streets program to ensure that the needs of all users are taken into account on all transportation projects and programs;

8.  Implement the new performance measurement provisions to fully integrate alternative transportation into the state's goals and measures;

9.  Use the strengthened and outcome-based safety program in MAP-21 to make reducing Florida's bike/ped fatality rates its #1 priority and revamp Florida's Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) towards achieving that outcome.

10.  Use Surface Transportation Funds to cover any potential shortfalls in the 5-year State Transportation Improvement (STIP) and supplement TA funds with flexible funds, such as the Surface Transportation Program (STP), to both honor existing projects in the pipeline previously approved under Transportation Enhancements (TE), SRTS and Rec Trails programs and move these activities forward under MAP-21.  Restore available funds to current levels.

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