Thursday, October 28 2010 @ 10:29 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
State policy—on suballocation and matching funds—plays a role in spending on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in metropolitan regions.
For most federal transportation funding programs, states receive the majority of the money and decide how to spend it. The federal government recommends suballocation, allowing metropolitan planning organizations to directly control funding for transportation enhancements and congestion mitigation and air-quality programs, rather than having to apply to the state. However, many states do not do this. [Like Maryland]
Maryland, for example, requires local governments to provide a 50 percent match, making it more difficult for them to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects. In California and Florida, the state provides the required match.
In Baltimore and Sacramento, spending on infrastructure resulted in a small although statistically significant positive effect on bicycling and walking.
— In Baltimore:
● Bicycling: Trails and improvements to the appearance of the street were modestly related to an increase in bicycling.
● Walking: Improvements to the appearance of the street were related to increased walking, but trail and sidewalk projects were not.
— In Sacramento:
● Bicycling: Bike lane projects were associated with an increase in bicycling, but trail projects were not.
[I'll note that Baltimore is now seeing this with it's bike lanes but the State is still over stressing trails over on-road accommodations.]
● Walking: The limited data did not show any association between trail or sidewalk improvement and walking.
● Sacramento used about $5.5 million more of its federal funding on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure than did Baltimore:
— Sacramento spent 95 cents per resident and used about 2.4 percent of its federal transportation funding on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
— Baltimore spent 59 cents per resident and used 1 percent of its federal transportation funding on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
● The case studies show that support from local governments and advocacy groups is a key driver of metropolitan planning organization–level support for bicycle and pedestrian investments. State policy also plays a role in encouraging and supporting bicycle and pedestrian spending at the regional level, both directly and through its influence on local governments. Other unique regional factors also have influenced spending.
The research team reported the following recommendations for federal policy-makers in the report The Regional Response to Federal Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects:
● Pass more funding directly to metropolitan planning organizations rather than routing it through the states, thereby reducing the effect of differences in suballocation.
● Design funding programs to achieve specific outcomes and develop outcome-oriented measures of success, or encourage states and regions to create their own programs that tie funding more tightly to local planning goals.
● Provide more tools to state and local governments to help bicycling and walking projects meet eligibility requirements such as demonstrated emissions reductions.
[Yo Maryland, read this: vvvvvv]
● Prohibit states from requiring more than the federally specified local match.
● Introduce more requirements for institutionalized non-motorized transportation planning to improve the ability of metropolitan planning organizations to meet their goals for bicycling and walking.
● Continue to emphasize public involvement in the planning process to ensure opportunities for local advocates to shed light on bicycling and pedestrian needs.