ASLA supports legislation that will assist with the creation and rehabilitation of safe bicycle and pedestrian networks throughout communities of all types across America.
Background & Analysis
On January 7, 2015, Representative Albio Sires (NJ) introduced H.R. 199, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015. The legislation would provide communities with low-cost financing for projects in order to make streets and sidewalks more accessible for all pedestrians and bicyclists. The measure would also direct a portion of the funding to establish projects in low-income communities.
Specifically, the legislation would call for 1 percent, approximately $11 million, of the $1 billion in the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program funds, provided by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), to be set aside and designated for biking and walking network projects. Under the current TIFIA loan program, eligibility is based on projects with a total cost of at least $50 million. H.R. 199 would allow a $2 million minimum for projects, opposed to the $50 million minimum required by a normal TIFIA-funded project.
H.R. 199 would also address biking and walking infrastructure networks in all communities by earmarking 25 percent of the funding for projects in low-income communities. A recent study has shown that individuals earning less than $30,000 per year account for 28 percent of the trips made by bicycle in 2009, more than $1.1 billion overall. Nationally, families with an income under $50,000 spend 30 percent of that income on transportation costs (bus, fuel, rail, etc). By using funds specifically for low-income communities, this measure will ultimately reduce transportation costs and provide greater job access for low-income households and residents.
Lastly, the bill will serve to provide practical transportation solutions that are high impact, yet low cost. Since this legislation calls for accessing existing funds, it will have no fiscal impact on the federal budget or the upcoming surface transportation bill. Under this legislation, lawmakers at the state and local level could use federal TIFIA dollars to leverage private funds to finance these smaller transportation infrastructure projects.
Representative Albio Sires (NJ) and cosponsors
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvement Act (H.R. 199) was introduced on January 7, 2015, and was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvement Act is modeled after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program. TIFIA has proven to be a success, showing that each dollar of federal funding can create up to $10 in credit assistance, which can be used to leverage up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. Representative Sires has attributed his heightened awareness of bicycling and walking infrastructure needs by the report, The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity, jointly released by the League of American Bicyclists and the Sierra Club.
The bill was first introduced during the 113th Congress as the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act of 2014 (H.R.3978). The 113th Congress expired before any action was taken on the measure.
“The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity” Report – The League of American Bicyclists, Sierra Club
Congressman Sires Press Release
LAND: What is TIFIA and Why Should You Care?
US DOT – Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)
US DOT – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)
Related ASLA Policies
Transportation Corridors & Facilities
Urban Growth and Development