and Pedestrian Funding is Key to Our Nation's Health
(This is a
response to a recent AP FACT CHECK article, which can be found at
small group of U.S. senators is forcing a vote on a proposal to eliminate
bicycle/pedestrian funding in the federal transportation budget. A recent AP
Fact Check article checked up on opponents' claims and found none of them hold
not surprising, because Transportation Enhancements, lawmakers' main target, is
the single largest source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the
bicycle and pedestrian projects are important, popular, and much needed.
1991, this funding has helped turn the tide in America, from a country that had
completely neglected bicycle and pedestrian needs for decades, to one that puts
bicycle and pedestrian spending somewhere on the nation's priority list, even
if still lower than it should be.
funding is used effectively and fills an important need in communities large
and small, and ranging from urban to suburban to rural. Bicycle and pedestrian
projects are inexpensive, cost-effective, popular with citizens, and well used.
many federal programs of this type, Transportation Enhancements puts
decision-making power in the hands of local communities, subject to rules and
oversight from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The result is that local
communities prioritize and build projects they want and need--not necessarily
the ones federal bureaucrats or Congressional staff, far removed from the needs
of hometown U.S.A, would prioritize or build.
projects are vitally needed and very popular with constituents from every side
of the political aisle.
example, Transportation Enhancements in Missouri has provided partial funding
and support for projects in Missouri that have:
• Filled in sidewalk gaps along major streets
(that also just happen to be state or federal highways) in cities and towns
• Created safe bicycle and pedestrian crossing
points of rivers, freeways, railroads, and other major barriers
• Built major connecting pieces that have
served as the anchor and starting point of trails system in cities across
• Funded the initial stages of citywide
• Built the Katy Trail and connections to it
• Created bicycle and pedestrian access along
or parallel to major highways and streets that were originally built without
those of us who want to see bicycling and walking become the norm in the U.S.
again, preserving a fair share of federal funding for bicycling and walking
should be at the very top of the priority list.
only a few cents out of every transportation dollar, but it makes a huge
difference in creating attractive, healthy, vibrant communities across America.
we've tried the alternative. We saved a few cents on the dollar and reaped a
harvest of ugly, unhealthy, unwalkable communities with a too-heavy dependence
on foreign oil.
don't go down that road--the one with no sidewalks, crosswalks, or bike
is executive director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, a
statewide coalition of bicyclists, walkers, runners, trail organizations and
related businesses which represents over 30,000 Missourians and advocates on
behalf of the state's two million ardent bicyclists and six million walkers.
More information can be found at http://MoBikeFed.org.