The new transportation bill has been passed by Congress and signed by the President, officially making it the law of the land. The bill itself was disappointing — MAP-21 slashed funding for biking and walking by as much as 60%. This is, to say the least, a setback for national biking and walking policy.
But one unfortunate bill doesn't mean that we must resign ourselves to slowing the amazing advancements in biking and walking across the country. We are not going to let 20 years of progress in biking and walking come to a halt!
The bill could have been much worse. Thanks to you and thousands of individual advocates who called, wrote, and e-mailed Congress as the bill was being written, we are still very much in the game.
At America Bikes, we've been analyzing the bill and staffing webinars with our coalition partners to explain the new policies. Going forward, the America Bikes coalition, working with our state and local partner organizations, is committed to ensuring that states and local governments use every opportunity in the new law to increase the safety and convenience of biking and walking. You could say that we're shifting gears.
Together, we can maximize biking and walking investments — both under MAP-21’s new Transportation Alternatives program and the larger core transportation and safety funds.
We expect every state to:
- Fully fund, staff, and implement the new Transportation Alternatives program. Specifically, states should:
- Fully fund: Do not transfer any funds away from Transportation Alternatives or opt-out of the Recreational Trails program
- Fully staff: Preserve or increase staff support for Transportation Alternatives by maintaining state Safe Routes to School coordinators and bike/ped coordinators
- Fully implement: Promptly award Transportation Alternatives grants with participation of relevant stakeholders
- Fully maximize the state’s investments in safe, accessible streets: utilize all MAP-21 funding programs — including HSIP, CMAQ, and STP — to include biking and walking in all transportation projects
- Fully spend remaining funds from the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs
We are developing an action plan to coordinate our efforts for the best results in every state. We are already working on a suite of tools and resources to help advocates ensure that states and communities take full advantage of MAP-21. We will alert you as those resources become available.
With help and dedication from individual advocates all over the coming weeks and months, the national renaissance in biking and walking will continue in communities all across the country.