Written by Taco Ride
From Bikeleague.org Blog by Darren Flusche
We’ve just won a big battle for biking and walking in the Senate. After several long weeks of intense work from advocates around the country and our partners at America Bikes, the Cardin-Cochran Amendment has been accepted as part of the base Senate transportation bill, MAP-21.
If MAP-21 ends up becoming law, the language from this amendment will ensure that local governments, school systems, and metropolitan planning organizations are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safe and accessible.
With the acceptance of the Cardin-Cochran amendment, here is how MAP-21 would work if it becomes law:
Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails are consolidated into a new program called Additional Activities.
State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) will make their Additional Activities funding available to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local governments. Here’s how they’ll allocate the funds:
The state DOT will allocate 50% of the Additional Activities, based on population, to MPOs and rural areas. MPOs will then distribute the funds through a competitive grant program for projects in their communities.
For the remaining 50% of Additional Activities, the state DOT would host its own competitive grant process for projects. Local governments, school districts, and others would be eligible to compete for this funding.
If it becomes law, this legislation would ensure that local governments and communities have a voice in the transportation decisions that affect their streets. The safeguards included in MAP-21 would ensure that communities of every size benefit from making their own localized transportation decisions for safe streets.
In order to make this law, the Reid Amendment must pass the Senate. Please urge your Senators to vote for cloture on the Reid Amendment!
And of course, help us spread the word about the mandatory sidepath law on federal lands. We are still fighting to get it removed.
We still have a lot of work to do to on the House side to make sure the transportation bill is as good as it can be for bicycling. Please join us at the National Bike Summit, March 20-22.
Thank you again for your continued support and hard work to making biking and walking in America safe and accessible.
Please note: There was no vote on the amendment – it was one of a very small number of amendments (out of 200+) that were rolled into a managers amendment – so there will be no roll call vote. Because of the great grass roots effort, the amendment made the short list of amendments that were included.
Read this Huffington Post article for more about the Senate bill.
League Policy Analyst
Flusche joined the League in April 2009 and has a B.A. in history from Syracuse University and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in public policy analysis from New York University.