New Federal Transportation Bill Would Improve Cycling Nationally

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The next law governing federal support for biking cleared its first hurdle. But replacement for the FAST Act still has a long way to go. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the first draft of the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (S. 2302). It would require a federal research plan on roadway design and safety to make transportation safer for “vulnerable users” such as bicyclists. The plan would have to include ways to design roads more safely, look and the relationship between traffic speed and bike safety etc.

The bill also calls for an Accessibility Data Pilot Program to improve transportation planning that would include connections to safe bicycling corridors.

The bill directs states to enact Complete Streets policies that would have to include bike trail connections between communities, business centers, etc.

Another program would provide a Formula Carbon Reduction Incentive Program for metropolitan planning agencies that would call on them to find ways to reduce single-occupancy auto trips with other means of transit such as bicycling.

And the bill would start a Disaster Relief Mobilization Pilot Program of grants to communities. Disaster relief plans would have to include use of bicycles and involve local bike/ped advocacy groups in planning. First responders and emergency workers could get trained in biking skills and maintenance, including the use of cargo bikes and ebikes.

Also, the bill would require a study of distribution and use of Recreational Trails Program money.

Finally, the bill would create a Center of Excellence on New Mobility and Automated Vehicles to fund research on matters such as bikesharing, including ebikes.

The League of American Bicyclists called the bill “great for biking and walking.”

People for Bikes issued a statement saying it “welcomes legislation that, if passed, would fund and modernize bike infrastructure, prioritize the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians, and recognize the environmental benefits of biking.”

See the bill at:

https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/f/6/f6f0d0c3-cab8-45e7-8190-9f990f1912e6/9A501E331F83EC7892C29169B1228C68.substitute-amendment-to-atia.pdf

 

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Charles Pekow
Charles Pekow is an award-winning Washington correspondent who has written about bicycling for years in publications such as the Washington Post, Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, SPOKES, etc. as well as Cycling West/Cycling Utah. He also writes frequently on environmental issues and beer, among other topics. Weather permitting, you'll find him most weekends and some summer evenings astride a bicycle in a park. He is also a charter member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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