FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Vice President of Policy
BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN PROGRAMS CLEAR PRIORITY IN TIGER II:
DOT, Americans Recognize Benefits, Cost-Effectiveness of Balanced Transportation
WASHINGTON, D.C. In the wake of today's U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announcement of TIGER II grant recipients, one thing is abundantly clear—communities across the country are prioritizing balanced transportation in their regional planning, and DOT is rewarding those plans.
Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million from DOT's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II competitive grant program supporting all types of transportation.
Several of the chosen projects included elements developed in community case statements for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) Campaign for Active Transportation, which paved the way for the federal ACT Act (H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act). These case statements document critical local needs and opportunities for strategic investment in safe and convenient active transportation options. Impressively, four percent of the total funds were given to bicycle and pedestrian projects—more than double the share that traditional transportation spending devotes to such projects.
"This demonstrates that bicycle and pedestrian projects receive a larger share of funding when transportation investment decisions are based on sustainability and merit," says RTC President Keith Laughlin.
Additionally, many more TIGER II capital and planning projects integrate bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure into their scope of work, demonstrating the strength of the multi-modal frame of TIGER II to encourage balanced transportation investment. Trails and other walking and biking facilities connect people to the places they live, work, learn, shop, play and access transit.
"These are innovative, 21st-century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices," says DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. "Many of these projects could not have been funded without this program."
The popular TIGER program received nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Capital grant projects that rose to the top in this stiff competition include:
- California—The East Bay Pedestrian and Bicycle Network in California will close several critical gaps in a nearly 200-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail network, in including the Iron Horse Trail, creating an interconnected system serving diverse communities such as Oakland. The project will make it safe and convenient to bicycle and walk for routine daily trips by creating a utilitarian active transportation network.
- Arkansas—Another grant will develop a 36-mile bicycle and pedestrian network, the Razorback Regional Greenway, traversing six towns in Northwest Arkansas. This project—along with work funded in Idaho on bike lanes, trails and bike parking—shows that active transportation is crucial to both urban and rural areas.
- Michigan—A grant for bridge work in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will include bike lanes and sidewalks, and removes a major bottleneck to a planned trail and urban greenway.
Planning grant awards included a high concentration of efforts to improve the quality of life, create jobs and develop cleaner, healthier and more affordable transportation choices through bicycling and walking. Examples include:
- Pennsylvania's Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard—Development of a plan to convert an existing six-mile stretch of rail right-of-way into a green riverfront rail and trail corridor.
- New York's Owasco River Multimodal Trail Corridor—Planning and design of a six-mile shared use bicycle and pedestrian trail along the Owasco River.
- Michigan's Building Livability in Pontiac—Study how an existing regional bike trail system and a refurbished multi-modal transit center can serve as hubs and linkages between downtown Pontiac, immediate neighborhoods, and other surrounding communities.
- Minnesota's St. Paul Complete Streets—Provide clear guidelines for street designs that balance the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit, automobiles, and freight.
- West Virginia's Randolph County Housing and Transport Plan—Support plans to increase pedestrian and bike connectivity in two Elkins neighborhoods that are mixed-income and close to jobs, schools, and in-town amenities.
- New Mexico's Pueblo of Laguna Bike/Pedestrian Trail—Planning and design of approximately 40 miles of trails on Pueblo of Laguna Native American reservation to connect six distinct communities with a focus on their traditional village cores.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 150,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.