Posted by Dorian Grilley on July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am
As a number of you may have heard, Federal legislation is underway that could eliminate ALL dedicated funding for bicycling and walking projects in the US! This threat is serious and could jeopardize the future of the Minneapolis bike program and newly adopted bicycle master plan.
Most funding for bicycle projects at the Federal level comes through the Transportation Enhancements Program. This program began under the leadership of former Congressman James Oberstar in the landmark ISTEA (Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity Act) bill of 1991. Since ISTEA, Minneapolis has been able to construct one of the most bicycle friendly cities in America. Some of the key pieces of infrastructure that have got us there include the Stone Arch Bridge, Kenilworth projects, the River Lake Greenway, Midtown Freewheel Bike Center, and the Cedar Lake Trail. These (and numerous others) were all funded in part with Transportation Enhancement dollars that are now poised to go away.
Two other key programs, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails also look to be on the chopping block. And, one of Minneapolis’ most innovative programs, the $25 million Non-motorized Transportation Pilot (NTP) program, is likely to disappear as well. Without NTP, Minneapolis would not have Nice Ride, the Bike Walk Ambassadors, and the more than 20 miles of bikeway facilities being installed this year alone!
What can you do? Contact your members of Congress! Fortunately, Rep Keith Ellison and Senators Klobuchar and Franken support bicycling. But, they need to hear from you, and they need your support and voice during this critical time.