For more than 20 years, federal funding for bike and pedestrian safety has enabled American cities and towns to invest in transportation projects that state DOTs would otherwise have overlooked. Thanks to these programs, communities have helped main streets thrive, provided kids with safer routes to school, and made biking an attractive transportation option.
The most recent transportation bill, passed in 2005 by a Republican Congress and Republican president, continued to invest in safer biking and walking. As negotiations over a new bill grind on, however, these programs are in jeopardy. The Senate has passed a bill that by and large preserves the status quo, but the House of Representatives has tried to eliminate bike and pedestrian programs.
Last week more than 800 people from all over the country came to Washington for the National Bike Summit. On the Hill, they urged the House to follow the lead of Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri, who introduced an amendment to restore dedicated funding for bike and pedestrian programs. We caught up with Petri and Bike Summit participants to hear how bike/ped programs have made a difference in their hometowns. Here’s what they told us.