Federal funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects reached a new high last year, according to a report released today by the Federal Highway Administration. In terms of dollars, federal investment in walking and biking more than doubled compared to the previous high, set in 2007, thanks largely to an infusion of $400 million in stimulus funds.
The share of all federal transportation spending devoted to bike-ped projects also rose to an unprecedented level -- all of two percent. Advocates for walking and biking applauded the trend while pointing out the potential for much greater federal commitment to active transportation.
"It continues to be an improvement, and it continues to be a tiny fraction of the money that's available to potentially be spent on biking and walking," said Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists.
Subtracting the $400 million one-shot in stimulus funding, Clarke noted, yields a less impressive year-on-year increase. And part of the increase in reported bike-ped spending might also simply reflect better record keeping by state DOTs, as agencies document the construction of sidewalks and bike lanes as part of larger projects, according to Barbara McCann of the National Complete Streets Coalition.
The spending figures come from an update on the state of walking and biking that the feds release every five years. The original National Bicycling and Walking Study, released in 1994, set two major targets: to double walk and bike mode-share, from 7.9 percent of all trips to 15.8 percent; and to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities by 10 percent.Read more...