LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS
In September 2009, Congress rescinded, or cancelled, $8.7 billion worth of unspent transportation funds from State DOTs. In March 2010, the HIRE Act restored those funds. Bicycling and walking advocates should strongly encourage Departments of Transportation to make bicycling and walking projects a priority and quickly spend the restored funding.
Rescissions are essentially a book keeping measure when properly administered. It allows USDOT to recoup unspent funds. However, some state DOTs have turned into an opportunity to gut neglected bicycle and pedestrian funding sources in order to preserve favored programs.
All funding programs should receive equal consideration to others: they should be spent proportionally and rescinded proportionally. Instead, some of the strongest programs for bicycle and pedestrian projects – Transportation Enhancements (TE), Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) – suffered higher rescission rates than other programs. In some states, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails also had higher rates of rescissions. The figure on page 4 shows how rescissions disproportionately targeted TE funding, for example.
The rescissions unfairly targeted these programs. The funds have been restored to the programs from which they were rescinded. Now DOTs should prioritize these programs and use them to implement bicycle and pedestrian projects.
- Identify cities, towns, and Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs) that have benefited from TE, CMAQ, SRTS, and Rec Trails projects and highlight them to show the DOT, the state legislature, and the governor’s office their importance
- Urge the head of state DOTs and governors to ensure bicycle and pedestrian projects get their fair share of funding from these funding sources quickly. In some case, state legislatures can be helpful as well. If you are doing any public events, such as ribbon cuttings, you can use that opportunity to encourage elected officials to invest more in bicycle and pedestrian projects
- Meet with state DOT personnel to review USDOT guidance on each funding source as it relates to bicycle and pedestrian projects and make sure they are implementing good projects and programs
About League of American Bicyclists
“The League began as the League of American Wheelmen (LAW) in 1880, and was responsible for defending the rights of cyclists from its start. The League of American Wheelmen is credited with getting paved roads in this country before the reign of the automobile.”