Van Hollen, Markey, Pappas, Huffman Urge Biden Administration to Request Full Funding for New Biking and Walking Program in President’s Budget
Lawmakers request administration support for the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program they successfully included in bipartisan infrastructure law
Today, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Congressman Chris Pappas (N.H.-01), and Congressman Jared Huffman (Calif.-02) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), urging the Biden administration to request full funding for the new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program—recently authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—in the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 annual budget.
The Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP) is a modified version of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, which the lawmakers introduced and successfully secured in the recent bipartisan infrastructure law. This program authorizes $200 million annually—for a total of $1 billion over five years—to connect walking and biking infrastructure into accessible, affordable, and safe active transportation networks that allow people to reach destinations within a community, as well as travel between communities, without ever needing a car. Appropriations are now needed to implement this new program.
“Full funding for the ATIIP would help meet the overwhelming nationwide demand for active transportation networks that provide opportunities for safe walking and bicycling to daily destinations,” write the lawmakers in their letter to DOT Secretary Buttigieg and OMB Acting Director Shalanda Young. “The ATIIP would also help our nation meet key goals the Biden administration has laid out for transportation investments, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reversing rising fatalities and serious injuries among pedestrians and bicyclists, providing equitable mobility options, and rebuilding our local economies from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act was endorsed by: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling, America Walks, American College of Sports Medicine, American Public Health Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Trails, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, East Coast Greenway, League of American Bicyclists, LOCUS, National Disability Rights Network, National League of Cities, National Recreation and Parks Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Outdoor Industry Association, People for Bikes, Policy Link, Project for Public Spaces, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, Transportation for America, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Trust for America’s Health.
A copy of the lawmakers’ letter can be found HERE and below.
Dear Secretary Buttigieg and Acting Director Young:
We write to request that you include full funding for the new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP), recently authorized in section 11529 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), in the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 annual budget.
Full funding for the ATIIP would help meet the overwhelming nationwide demand for active transportation networks that provide opportunities for safe walking and bicycling to daily destinations. It would also help enable our communities to address climate change by shifting transportation to carbon-free transportation options. A brief survey in spring 2020 of local transportation planners and bicycle and pedestrian organizations identified several billions of dollars in unmet need to fill gaps in active transportation networks, and the actual unmet need is estimated to be at least several times that. Although the increase in Transportation Alternatives funds in the IIJA is critically important, these diffuse investments allocated to states and regions do not sufficiently address the need for concentrated investments in places that have numerous gaps to fill in their comprehensive active transportation networks. For example, the active transportation network in metro Eugene, Oregon 2035 Transportation System Plan will cost over $71 million and serve 375,000 people, less than 9% of the state’s population. In contrast, the current total annual funds allocated to the entire state through the Transportation Alternatives Program is approximately $7.8 million.
The ATIIP would also help our nation meet key goals the Biden administration has laid out for transportation investments, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reversing rising fatalities and serious injuries among pedestrians and bicyclists, providing equitable mobility options, and rebuilding our local economies from the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent analysis found that a substantial investment in active transportation focused on mode shift to walking and biking could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million metric tons annually. The Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Project created by Congress proved that connectivity investments make significant increases in walking and bicycling possible without any increase in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and crashes. Active transportation connectivity will also help ensure greater equity by providing affordable and accessible transportation options for the millions of U.S. households that do not own a car, as well as by reducing disparities in traffic injuries and fatalities that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.
The Fiscal Year 2023 budget is an opportunity for us to complete some of the unfinished business of the IIJA and invest in the infrastructure projects that Americans most want. If fully funded, the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program could be a critical tool to achieve our nation’s transportation goals, providing a uniquely high return on investment. We therefore respectfully request that you include full funding for this program in President Biden’s proposed budget.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
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