Magazine article E Magazine

Building National Support for Biking

Magazine article E Magazine

Building National Support for Biking

Article excerpt

Debate was long and intense on the reauthorization of the multi-year federal transportation bill. At one point, the Republican majority in the House eliminated all funding for bike and pedestrian enhancements. So it seemed like something of a victory when the final bill passed--three years late--and was signed by President Obama, with some funding for transportation enhancements still included, although it was reduced by 30% from the previous authorization.

Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking & Walking says many advocates felt the final outcome was a defeat, but he thinks it's more complicated than that. "We certainly got hit hard, and hit disproportionately, and I would say that's a lack of vision and leadership and awareness of what's happening in this country. All you have to do is look around to see how much more people bike and walk and how much people want options for mobility, and they want to be safe, so we are disappointed in that regard, but if we hadn't been working together we have no doubt we would have lost a lot more."

Advocates formed a coalition called America Bikes (americabikes.org) to get the federal transportation bill passed. Members included the League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance, Bikes Belong, Adventure Cycling Association, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, plus "key partners including America Walks, Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School National Partnership," Miller says. "Now we're working together on implementation of this new law."

Dedicated funding has been stripped under this two-year law. "There are wider eligibilities for a smaller pot of funding, meaning communities are going to have to fight a lot harder to get funding for biking and walking projects," adds Miller. …

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