U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USDOT Pledges Continued Support Of Funding Eligibility for Bike, Pedestrian Projects At Launch of East Coast Greenway
Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Emil Frankel today underscored the Bush Administration's support for continued broad eligibility for federal funding of bicycle and pedestrian projects. Frankel joined Congressional leaders, representatives of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, and health and environment groups on the National Mall in Washington, DC to celebrate National Trails Day and the inauguration of the East Coast Greenway.
Frankel gave East Coast Greenway representatives trail markers signed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta for posting along the Greenway route.
"We want to foster a safe and secure transportation system that improves mobility, reduces congestion and contributes to economic growth," Frankel said. "Projects like the East Coast Greenway provide an important balance in our transportation system, giving Americans more choices as to mode of transportation while promoting activities that can contribute to good health."
The East Coast Greenway, when completed, will be a 2,600-mile motor-traffic-free path linking east coast cities from Maine to Florida. Funding under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) is helping to underwrite the Greenway. Using most categories of federal highway funding and some transit funding, states and metropolitan areas thus far have provided about $400 million for sections of the Greenway.
The Administration's legislative proposal for the reauthorization of these surface transportation laws, which is known as SAFETEA (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003), would extend states' authority to use federal funds for such projects while giving states new flexibility in their use of federal resources.
Frankel said that travel options like the Greenway, by providing for bicycling and walking, contribute to a better environment and to healthier lifestyles.
Federal legislation encourages funding of these projects from a wide range of funding programs. In the early 1990s, Transportation Enhancement funds were the primary source of these funds. More recently other funding programs such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, other Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds, Federal Lands Highways Program, Recreational Trails Program, Scenic Byways, and safety funding have accounted for larger shares of this funding.
Federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects increased dramatically in the last 10 years but decisions to actually fund particular projects, such as segments of the East Coast Greenway, are made by state and local levels of government. In 1992, $22.9 million was spent nationwide on stand-alone bicycle and pedestrian projects. In 2002, the amount increased nearly twenty times to almost $416 million bringing total funding since 1992 to $2.3 billion. This does not count bicycle and pedestrian components of larger transportation projects.
Projects like the East Coast Greenway demonstrate the strong grassroots support for pedestrian and bicycle projects that enhance safety and the quality of life in communities and offer individuals choices in how they travel.