U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters
Congratulations to all of you on making a difference and setting an example. There's nothing like hitting the open road under your own clean power.
Transportation Secretary Mineta has said: "Bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs are an integral part of our nation's transportation system for the 21st Century. Our national transportation system must meet the needs of all our customers, including bicyclists."
I agree with the Secretary. Bikes belong in our nation's transportation system. In planning, designing, constructing, and operating our nation's transportation system, the needs of all users -- and that clearly includes bicyclists -- should be considered from the moment planning starts on a new project.
More needs to be done and DOT and FHWA are working to make the needs of bicyclists a routine part of decisions made by transportation agencies.
We're also working to keep you informed through our sponsorship of the Pedestrian and Bicyclist Information Center (the PBIC) -- a national clearinghouse of information on bicycling. Go to www.bicyclinginfo.org and you'll find the latest information available on a wide variety of topics relating to bicycling.
Today, a new tool sponsored by NHTSA, the Bikeability Checklist, became available on the Website. You can use this Checklist to rate your bike route and to identify needed improvements.
FHWA helps to administer Federal transportation dollars, but the decisions on what is funded occur within states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
In 1991, $17 million dollars were spent by states and MPOs nationwide on bicycle and pedestrian projects. Last year, only 10 years later, $339 million was spent. This is a twenty fold increase in 10 years.
Yet this figure is still less than one percent of the money available for modes of travel that account for nearly 15 percent of traffic fatalities and six percent of all trips made in this nation.
You can help by getting and staying involved. There is money available for bicycle projects and programs, but you have to ask for it.
Now is the time to be involved in the reauthorization of TEA-21. This major transportation legislation expires next year. In the next few months, the outline of a new Act will take shape.
We need to hear from you through WABA (Washington Area Bicyclist Association) and through other groups that share your concerns. We want to hear what needs changing.
Eventually we should reach a point, sometime soon I hope, that we do not need to be so concerned about reaching out -- to making sure that the voice of bicyclists is heard.
You are an integral part of our nation's transportation system and accommodating your needs should be part of every new project.
Until that day comes, I'm glad you are here, making your love of bicycling known, and making sure your voice is heard.