Metropolitan Transportation Commission

New Jobs Bill Could Bring Millions for Bikes

The Federal Jobs Bill H.R. 2847 has passed the House and is now being discussed in the Senate.  The bill is poised to be enacted early in 2010, bringing an expected $2.5 billion in transportation funding to California with an estimated $150-$300 million in highway money coming to the Bay Area.

According to Title 23 Chapter 1 Section 133 of the U.S. Code: Bike Projects are eligible for this highway funding.

"(3) Carpool projects, fringe and corridor parking facilities and programs, bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways in accordance with section 217, and the modification of public sidewalks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)."

On January 13th, MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee will be discussing the guiding principles for how this money will be used throughout the 9-county Bay Area region. Here is MTC's current proposal (pdf).

BABC is working with Urban Habitat and TransForm to affect these principles and to make sure that bicycle infrastructure is set up for significant funding.  Here is a copy of our letter to MTC regarding use of the Jobs Bill funds.

We are compiling a list of bike projects ready for funding that this new bill could support.  We will update this list as we hear from more cities and counties.  If you know of a bike project that is ready to be funded in your county, please contact babc@bayareabikes.org

Bike Projects Ready for Funding in the Bay Area (updated 1/11/10)

  1. Alamo Canal Trail I-580: Part of the Regional Bike Network, Currently undergoing federal environmental review and thus shovel ready
  2. SF Bay Trail at Hercules Transit Center: Part of the Regional Bike Network
  3. West County Bay Trail San Pablo: In Regional Bike Network, Has already completed federal environmental review
  4. Maud Ave Sidewalk Improvement
  5. Grove Way Sidewalk Improvement
  6. Marshall/Omega Sidewalk Improvement
  7. Buchanan Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Project
  8. Pedestrian Safety Corridor Improvement Project, which includes:
    1. University Avenue Corridor Pedestrian Safety Improvements (6th Street to San Pablo Ave)
    2. Ashby BART Station Area Improvements
    3. Ashby Avenue Corridor Pedestrian Safety Improvements (San Pablo Ave to California)
    4. Shattuck Avenue Corridor Pedestrian Safety Improvements (Hearst to Vine)
    5. San Pablo Avenue Corridor Pedestrian Safety Improvements (Addison to Bancroft)
  9. Cedar Street Sidewalk Improvement Project
  10. Mission Boulevard Sidewalk Improvement Project
  11. Iron Horse Trail, Isabel Avenue to Murrieta Bl.
  12. Trail improvements Segment N (LARPD Project managed by City of Livermore)

Letter to MTC on Jobs Bill

January 8, 2010

Dear Chair Haggerty and MTC Commissioners,

As you know, the House has passed HR 2847, a “Jobs Bill”, which would include at least $550 million in transportation funding for the Bay Area. Information about this legislation will be presented to the Programming and Allocations Committee this coming Wednesday (January 13, 2010). As MTC prepares to be able to spend these funds quickly, we urge you to use the following four principles, described in detail below, to guide the investment of these new funds: maximize job creation, support focused growth, fix it for all, and maximize funding flexibility.

 ·        Maximize job creation. The paramount purpose of this legislation is to create jobs. MTC should use current information about job creation to direct new federal Jobs Bill funding to maximize job creation. For example, a recently released study from Smart Growth America, What We Learned from the Stimulus, reports that ARRA funds spent on public transportation more effectively created jobs than stimulus funds spent on highway projects—Dollar for dollar, transit projects funded by the stimulus created twice as many jobs per dollar as investing in roads.  In addition to creating jobs, investment in public transportation preserves jobs by enabling people to continue to get to work reliably. As you know, many of the Bay Area’s transit agencies are in the process of cutting services and raising fares, adding additional affordability pressure and access challenges to many Bay Area commuters who are struggling to retain their jobs. Additionally, the League of American Bicyclists have found that for every $1 million invested in an FHWA-approved paved bicycle or multi-use trail, the local economy gains 65 jobs.

·        Support focused growth. As the Bay Area steps up to the challenge of SB 375 and successful adoption of the region’s first Sustainable Community Strategy, we should take advantage of new funding to support the goals of our future SCS: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support focused growth, and preserve and expand access for all. MTC should consider how these funds may support eligible PDA needs, for example, by directing funds to the TLC program to achieve the goal of $60 million/year for this program, and/or by prioritizing grants to support cities’ transportation projects within planned PDAs.

 ·        Fix it for all: There are countless streets in the Bay Area that do not meet identified standards for pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. At the same time, the region’s local streets and roads (LS&R) face huge maintenance shortfalls. When MTC adopted its Complete Streets (also called Routine Accommodation) policy, the expectation was that the region and local municipalities would be partners in ensuring that regional funds be spent on projects that meet standards for pedestrian and bicycle access and improve and enhance this access. MTC should follow through on this intention by using these Jobs Funds efficiently by funding only those LS&R maintenance projects that also address bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements that create truly complete streets. There are shovel-ready segments of the Regional Bike Network throughout the nine counties. For instance, MTC could fund implementation of shovel-ready segments of the Regional Bicycle Network or Countywide Bicycle Plans that overlap with local streets and roads maintenance projects, lessening the maintenance shortfall while investing in a legacy of a complete active transportation network.

·        Maximize Flexibility of Fund Sources: To achieve the region’s goals for a healthy, livable, affordable Bay Area and to fulfill the previously outlined principles, it is tremendously important for MTC to use federal funding as flexibly as possible. For instance, there are FHWA funds that the region does not traditionally use for transit purposes, but that may legally be used this way. Similarly, although 10% of federal FHWA funds go to Transportation Enhancements, bicycle and pedestrian projects, programs that facilitate non-automobile travel, provision and utilization of mass transit and other traffic control measures are all eligible expenses for the remainder of FHWA funds as well under federal law.

Thank you for your consideration of these principles. We welcome your questions and would be happy to discuss all or any of these with you.

 Sincerely,

 Bob Allen, Urban Habitat

Andrew Casteel, Bay Area Bicycle Coalition

Stephanie Reyes, Greenbelt Alliance

Carli Paine, TransForm

BABC and Allies Secure $192 Million in Funding for Sustainable Transportation

Thanks to the efforts of the BABC, local bike coalitions, TransForm and the Greenbelt Alliance, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved $192 Million in STP/CMAQ funding for sustainable transportation over the next 3 years, $48 Million more than MTC’s initial proposal for those funds.

The $192 Million in Sustainable Transportation funding will go to the following programs:

CLIMATE INITIATIVES
A series of innovative grant and outreach programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.  This includes $17 Million in funding for the first regional Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program in the country, which provides funding for education and bike infrastructure to encourage students to bike and walk safely to school.

REGIONAL BICYCLE PROGRAM

Funds the Regional Bicycle Network (RBN), a 2,100 mile regional network of bike routes providing connections between counties and between major transit hubs and business and retail centers throughout the region.

TRANSPORTATION FOR LIVABLE COMMUNITIES (TLC)

Provides Transit and Capital Funds to improve Pedestrian, Bicycle and Transit Access.   TLC encourages Transit Oriented Development, which helps create communities that make it easier to use non-motorized transportation.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of all of you who wrote their MTC commissioners demanding that funding for these important programs be increased.  We would like to thank everyone who wrote a letter, signed our petition or gave public comment.  Your support is the most powerful tool in the fight for a better future for biking, walking and transit.

While this increase in funding was a great win, we still have several challenges ahead of us.  Even with the increased funding these programs received, they are still not funded at the levels promised in the regional transportation plan adopted by MTC this year.  Funding for Safe Routes to Transit (SR2T) is limited to evaluation only, despite the hundreds of you who signed our petition to fund SR2T.  The Federal Transportation Act could see a major overhaul this year, changing the way this STP/CMAQ funding is allotted, possibly providing more opportunities for funding bicycle and pedestrian improvements that encourage sustainable transportation.

Help Restore STP/CMAQ Funding for Bicycles

 

 

When MTC adopted the 2009 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) this spring, we applauded them for taking climate change seriously and recognizing the importance . Not only did they set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, but for the first time ever, included $400 million in funding for a five-year Transportation Climate Action Campaign with $100 million worth of funding for the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Safe Routes to Transit (SRTT) programs.
 
Now, MTC is backpedaling on their commitment to climate. Instead of funding the Transportation Climate Action Campaign in the first five years of the life of the RTP, they’re proposing to shift funding to freeway priorities and fund the Climate Campaign at just 17% of the level promised, threatening millions of dollars of bicycle funding through the SRTS and SRTT programs!
 
Join BABC and our partner TransForm in telling the MTC Commissioners to make good on their word and fully fund the Transportation Climate Action Campaign.
 
Take action here.

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