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March 24, 2005

Developing 2005 Congressional Highway Bill good for Cyclists

The Congress of the United States  is putting together a major Highway Bill that will have much to recommend it for bicycling, and bicyclists in its legislation.

The shorthand name is the highway bill, but the most important public works legislation Congress will consider this year has more than $50 billion to help people get around out of their cars.

The thousands of off-road projects range from more than $400 million for a Los Angeles subway extension to $150,000 for a historic bike path in Pascagoula, Mississippi, hometown of Republican Sen. Trent Lott, the former majority leader.

The House has passed, and the Senate is going to debate this $284 Billion Surface Transportation Bill that covers projects for the next 6 years.

I found this bit of trivia interesting:

Nearly half the transit money in the 800-page House bill is allotted by complicated formulas to urban area transit departments. But $2 billion over the six years also is set aside for rural areas.

While public transit ridership from 1996 to 2002 rose 21 percent to 9.6 billion passenger trips a year, 40 percent of the nation's counties still have no public transportation.

I would have guessed closer to 50 percent.

One pilot program to link bus and train stations to bicycle and pedestrian roads gets $28 million.

Now, there's an idea!

In case you are still wondering why I have a link to the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, and am beginning to write about its members, and activities, there is this:

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, head of the congressional bike caucus, said he's excited about a new safe-routes-to-school provision that will enable younger children to bike or walk to school.

A generation ago most kids walked or biked to school, but now about 90 percent either take the bus or are driven by parents. At a time when child obesity is of growing concern, the $875 million program "has the potential of transforming the daily routine of our youngsters," he said.

Blumenauer's office located some 158 bicycle and pedestrian projects in the House bill worth $242 million. "This is probably going to be probably the best bicycle bill in history," Blumenauer said.

Go team! :-)

Thanks to Gene, of Bikin' Bis, for the heads-up on this story.

CNN.COM: Congress works on $284 Billion Highway Bill.


The Bill: Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21),

The current version of TEA-21 can be downloaded here.

Gene, of Bikin' Bis', did some searching this morning and came up with a representative sampling of what's in the bill for cyclists:

San Diego River bike path -- $500,000
Improve bicycle sidewalks, Miramar, Fla., -- $600,000
Wading River bicycle project, Riverhead, NY -- $1.2 million
Buy rights of way for bike path, Aurora, Ohio -- $500,000
Central Iowa Bike Trail, Ankeny to Woodward, Iowa -- $1 million
Bike boardwalks at Pismo Beach, Calif. -- $300,000
Rahway River Corridor Greenway bike path, NJ -- $1.5 million
Bike path, Petal, Miss. -- $200,000
Citywide bike path network, Evanston, Ind. -- $250,000
Bike trail, Smyrna, Tenn. -- $3 million
Regional bike routes on highways in Austin, Texas -- $1 million
Bike trail, Cookeville, Tenn. -- $2.5 million
Upgrade bike corridors, Solano County, Calif. -- $3 million
Bike path, Portage, Wisc. -- $2.2 million
Route 11 extension and bike path from Salem to Waterford, Conn. -- $16 million
Bike bridge between San Leandro and Oakland, Calif. -- $750,000
12 miles of Palmetto Trail Project, S.C. -- $1 million
Bike Trail at I-95 interchange, Lake County, Ohio -- $2.5 million
Bike trail, Gallatin, Tenn. -- $665,000
East Coast Greenway bike path, New Brunswick to Hudson River, N.J. -- $1 million
Bicycle bridge, Stillwater River, Maine -- $1 million
Reconstruct Neal Smith Trail, Iowa -- $3.5 million
Six-mile bike path, Mahoning County, Ohio -- $500,000
Bike overpass, Phoenix -- $3 million
Bike trail network, eastern Austin, Texas -- $9.6 million
Bike path, Madison, Wisc. -- $3.5 million
Bike path, Wisconsin Dells -- $2 million
Cayuga Waterfront Trail, Ithaca, N.Y. -- $1.2 million
Bike trail, Murfreesboro, Tenn. -- $9 million
Bike path, ferry landing, Brooklyn -- $10 million
Bike and transit facilities, Rockwood, Ore. -- $3 million
Bike bridge, Wayne, Ill. -- $1.2 million
Historic bike path, Pascagoula, Miss. -- $150,000
Scenic bicycle path, Niagara County, NY -- $2.3 million
Penobscot Riverfront Development, Maine -- $2 million
Bike trails, North Delaware riverfront, Penn. -- $10 million
Waunakee to Westport bike path, Wisc. -- $2 million
Bike path and bike bridges, Madison, Wisc. -- $2 million
Bike path, Chula Vista, Calif. -- $300,000
Bike path, New River, Calexico, Calif. -- $5 million
Acquire rail corridors for bike paths, Durham, N.C. -- $2 million
Extend bike trails, Aberdeen, N.D. -- $800,000
Bike improvements in Georgetown and Middletown, Ill. -- $6 million.

I agree with Gene that there's a lot in the bill for bicyclists, and now  let's see  if the Senate lets this through intact.

March 24, 2005 in Congressional Bicycle Caucus Watch | Permalink


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