Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018 - 19

ยป WHAT DO THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING DEBATES MEAN FOR BIKING?
The lack of funding for infrastructure
will make it harder to increase investments in bicycling infrastructure
and advocacy for bicycle-friendly
policies. This is true not only because
less funding for transportation overall means less funding for each of the
modes, including bicycling, but also
because when funding for transportation infrastructure is tight, Congress debates whether federal dollars
should go to bicycling and walking
at all.
The argument goes like this, "Back
when the Highway Trust Fund had
plenty of money it was fine for Congress to spend a small portion of that
funding on bicycling and walking.
Now that funding is limited, Congress should only use that money for
real transportation."
Despite the increase in support of
bicycling among local governments,
businesses and families, Congress
still debates whether it is within our
federal interest to invest in active
transportation.
That is the message we should
take away from the suspension of
the Bicycle Commuter benefit in
the tax reform bill. While Congress

pay for a one-time surge on investment
infrastructure. The tax reform bill uses
that funding for other things, and that
money is not available for infrastructure
now.
NOW THAT THE TAX REFORM BILL IS DONE, WHERE CAN
FUNDING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE COME FROM?
The White House is suggesting the
funding can come from cuts to spending from the budget. This will be harder
than it sounds. As I write this, Congress
is voting to pass tax reform that will
require a cut of $150 billion in spending each year for a decade. At the same
time, Congress is negotiating to break
WINTER 2018

was willing to continue to subsidize
commuter costs for people who drive
or take transit, the bike commuter
benefit was suspended because bike
commuting is not as valid a commuting method.
As Congress continues to debate
the budget, prepares for the reauthorization of the transportation bill
in 2020, and debates the illusive infrastructure package, the Bike Walk
Action program at the League of
American Bicyclists will continue to
advocate for increased investment in
multi-modal transportation and bicycle friendly policies. We will:
* Educate members of Congress
on the benefits of bicycling and
walking in their communities.
* Encourage members and their
staff to bicycle in Washington,
DC. (The League worked with
the Architect of the Capitol to
get the entire Capitol campus
certified as a Bicycle Friendly
Business)
* Advocate for bicycle friendly
policies and funding that improve safety and increase the
ability of communities to build
bicycle friendly infrastructure.

the spending caps on the current year's
budget (the question is by how much,
not if they will overspend).
In addition, the tax reform bill is based
on a budget resolution that calls for a reduction in transportation infrastructure
spending over the next ten years, not
an increase. Just to keep transportation
investment at current levels will require
at least an additional $140 billion needs
to be added to the Highway Trust Fund.
They would then need to find an additional $200 billion for the Administration's infrastructure package on top of
that.
It is very possible that Congress may

Please join us. Come to the National Bike Summit March 5-7th,
and we will set up meetings for you
to meet with your Senators' and Representatives' office to advocate for a
Bicycle Friendly America.
Between 1953 and 1991 only
$40 million in federal transportation funds were spent on bicycling
and walking infrastructure. In 1992
Congress passed the ISTEA transportation bill, which included the
Transportation Enhancement program that set aside funding on bicycling and walking and other local
projects. In the first year (1992),
over $22 million in federal funding
was spent on bicycling and walking
infrastructure. That number steadily
grew, reaching its height in 2009 at
a high of over $1 billion in 2009 (including stimulus funding).
The last transportation bill that
was fully funded by the Highway
Trust Fund was SAFETEA LU
which passed in 2005 and expired in
2009. Towards the end of that bill we
hit the point where SAFETEA LU
spent more funding than the HTF
brought in.

pull together some regulation changes
to make it easier to get roads built faster,
and maybe even a little funding. But I am
afraid we left 2017 further away from a
solution to our shortfall in transportation, than we were at the end of 2016.
Caron Whitaker is Director of Bike Walk
Action. You can reach her at caron@clwconsulting.net.
Endnotes

1 http://thehill.com/homenews/
administration/351984-poll-finds-overwhelming-support-for-tax-reform-andinfrastructure.
BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA 19


http://www.thehill.com/homenews/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bicycle Friendly America Winter 2018

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http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com