A bad deal for bikes

May 23, 2017

Bike riders and pedestrians on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which received TIGER Grant funding.

Tim Blumenthal, president

The Trump Administration’s 2018 budget, released on May 23, threatens our nation’s economic vitality by failing to properly invest in a robust, modernized transportation network. The plan provides inadequate protection for our public lands. It is bad news for people who bike, the bike business, and the growing number of U.S. communities that benefit from bicycle infrastructure.

The Administration proposes to eliminate the TIGER grant program and reduce funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and land acquisition programs of the Department of the Interior. The Administration’s budget also fails to address the pressing overall need to improve the U.S. transportation infrastructure network—a national priority that has earned broad bipartisan support.

If approved as written, the Administration’s dramatic cuts to bicycling-related programs would make riding less safe and reduce the major economic benefits tied to bicycle use and the bicycle business. We depend on federal investments that support bicycle infrastructure: this budget slashes them.

Our industry, like all others, needs an efficient, multi-modal transportation system to bring our goods to market, but the Administration’s proposal falls short in its overall commitment to this goal. Now is the time for businesses, communities and individuals to contact their members of Congress to urge them to reject the Administration’s transportation spending plan.

A recent study funded by the Outdoor Industry Association and supported by PeopleForBikes found that the outdoor recreation industry generates $887 billion annually in economic activity and employs more than 7.6 million Americans. Bicycling is a critical component of this economic engine that supports more jobs than the gasoline and fuels industry. President Trump’s cuts would shrink the American workforce.

Bike infrastructure improvements are critical to economic development in communities around the nation. A strategically placed bike project can turn around a neighborhood and spur further economic growth. The proposed cuts would impact these critical community development programs including:

A 16-percent cut to the Department of Transportation and elimination of the TIGER grant program: President Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate the popular, successful and low-cost TIGER grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This program inspires communities to create multimodal solutions to transportation challenges. Only a small percentage of cities that apply for TIGER awards receive them. Among the many high-profile bike-related projects that have benefited from TIGER funding are Atlanta’s Beltline Trail, Arkansas’ Razorback Greenway, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Chicago’s bike-share system, and dedicated bike lanes in Boston, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Tens of thousands of Americans use these facilities every day. Eliminating TIGER would unwind years of bipartisan congressional support for this program.

A 5.3-percent cut to Department of the Interior: The president’s budget also cuts funding to the U.S. Department of the Interior—the agency that manages one-fifth of the entire land surface of the United States and provides many of the best U.S. bicycling opportunities on roads, paths and trails.

An 83.9-percent cut to discretionary funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund: Another bipartisan program that’s slated for major cuts is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF.)  For more than 50 years, the LWCF has funded parks, trails and other recreational assets—including a variety of bike paths and related facilities.

Bicycling is a cost-effective way to move people—particularly in-and-around our increasingly congested cities. Bicycling provides tremendous economic benefits to our nation through bike-related jobs, tourism and reductions in health-care costs that come from active lifestyles. Americans make more than four billion bicycle trips per year. As this figure grows, all Americans will benefit.

PeopleForBikes and our 1.2 million supporters will continue to work with Congress to restore level funding for these critical programs in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations as we continue to educate the Administration on the benefits of providing robust funding to key bicycling programs.

Today, you can help by asking your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators to reject the administration’s transportation and interior budget requests. Click here to send them a letter today.

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