Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 4th, 2009 at 4:42 pm
U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is looking to introduce a new bill to Congress next week that would create a $2 billion grant program that would hasten investment in biking, walking, and other “active transportation options”.
Blumenauer’s office sent out a one pager and a PDF of the bill today, saying that the proposed legislation has already been vetted with national organizations and leaders, but that they are currently in negotiations to secure a Republican co-sponsor. The bill would look to increase mode share for biking and walking through “concentrated funding for active transportation networks”. “It is time for the federal government to support communities’ infrastructure investment,” the statement says.
This proposed legislation might sound familiar. Back in March 2007, the Rails to Trails Conservancy began a national campaign to identify 40 communities that would receive $50 million dollars each to invest in biking and walking. Portland was an early and front-running contender to be one of those . However, according to sources, that program stalled for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it looked too much like earmarks.
(Download PDF of bill here)
This new legislation from Blumenauer’s office would be different in that it’s a competitive grant program (with a two-year application cycle). The grants would range from $5 to $15 million for five years.
Tighe told me on the phone this evening that, “We’re developing the projects and the case [for active transportation] so we can be competitive for these types of funding opportunities. The language of the bill is very on track for the direction we’re moving in.”