The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released their long-awaited transportation reauthorization bill last week (known as MAP-21), sending alarms throughout national bike advocacy circles because it, according to Streetsblog DC “eviscerates successful and popular programs to make biking and walking safer.”
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance immediately signaled they would gird for battle due to the bill’s “very alarming setbacks.”
Speaking of setbacks, the web is buzzing in anger with a provision that appears on page 226 of the draft bill (emphasis mine)…
“‘‘(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a 11 speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.”
League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke called that an “egregious provision” that they’ll work to get stripped ASAP.
The bill would also no longer provide dedicated funding to key pots of money like Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and the Recreational Trails Program. To put that in perspective, In 2010, those three programs got a total of $1.146 billion dollars. (Note that all those programs would still be eligible for funding, they just wouldn’t have a guaranteed source.)
Thankfully, Oregon’s representatives in the Senate are reliably steadfast in their support of funding for bicycling and walking and the BTA is already saying that work has begun with Senator Jeff Merkley to draft some sort of amendment.