news Congress Passes FAST Transportation Bill
Bike/ped funding maintained – even modestly increased!
In a victory for cyclists and pedestrians across the country, President Barack Obama last week signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation(FAST) Act, a five-year bill that includes an increase in funding for biking and walking, makes non-profits eligible for that funding, and creates a new safety education program.
Under the Transportation Alternatives Program, bike and pedestrian funding increases from $820 million to $835 million in 2016 and 2017, and to $850 million in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Non-profits are now allowed to apply for those funds. The 5-year bill is also long-term, which means it provides greater funding certainty to states. Thus, more states will plan for and invest in bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
Furthermore, the bill broadens the guidelines states can use when designing roads, and gives local jurisdictions the right to choose different guidlines from the state in certain circumstances. It also directs the US Department of Transportation to encourage states and Metropolitain Planning Organizations to set Complete Streets design standards to accommodate all road users.
Additionally, the FAST Act includes a new Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Program and creates a priority safety fund to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities.
Overall, the FAST Act is a win for cyclists and pedestrians, with improvements over the previous transportation bill, MAP-21.
MCBC wishes to thank all of you for quick responses to our calls to action to help stave off attacks on bike and pedestrian funding. We also wish to join our partner organizations in thanking our allies in Congress who made this bill a success, including our own Senator Barbara Boxer, Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Cochran (R-MS), and Represenatives DeFazio (D-OR), Larsen (D-WA), Blumenauer (D-OR), Buchanan (R-FL) and Zeldin (R-NY).
For more information on the FAST Act, you can find a detailed overview from the League of American Bicyclists here.