Some alternative transportation advocates believe legislative language could effectively ban bike and pedestrian projects from the 2012 TIGER Program. Along with the possibility that Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trail, and Safe Routes to School dedicated funding programs may be eliminated or rolled together with other programs in the new transportation bill, this could mean a significant reduction in funding for non-motorized transportation, just as the demand for such projects is rising.
In a possible reaction to what some legislators feel was an over-allocation of funds to bike and pedestrian projects in previous TIGER grants, the 2012 transportation appropriation bill, which became law in mid-November, included language that the next round of grants should focus on “road, transit, rail, and port projects.”
But were pedestrian and bicycle projects overly funded in previous rounds of TIGER? An analysis of the numbers from the TIGER I and TIGER II rounds of grants can shed some light on the issue:
- Only three percent of TIGER I’s $1.5 billion was granted to exclusive bike-pedestrian projects
- Only four percent of TIGER II’s $557 million was granted to exclusive bike-pedestrian projects
- Bike and pedestrian projects made up four and five percent of the number of projects funded by TIGER I and TIGER II, respectively
Other projects funded by the previous grant programs did include some bike and pedestrian aspects, like improvements to sidewalks near transit facilities. It needs to be noted, though, that in order to receive grants from the USDOT, all projects must demonstrate widespread local support. This should be considered an indication that local officials and communities as a whole may be shifting their priorities toward a more balanced transportation system.
Read more about bike and pedestrian projects funded by previous TIGER grants at Transportation Issues Daily.