U.S. House committee passes TEA-21 reauthorization

Here is the AmericaBikes summary of the latest U.S. House version of the bill:
On November 19th, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee introduced their TEA-21 reauthorization bill, called "Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" or TEA-LU. It's a huge package, calling for $375 billion over the next six years. Compare that to $218 billion authorized by TEA-21 in 1997.

Safe Routes to School is funded at a full $250 million a year in TEA-LU, thanks to Congressman Oberstar. The Enhancements program remains intact, as do CMAQ, Scenic Byways and TCSP. The core programs see an increase of 9% a year. Funding for Rec Trails increases significantly to $700 million over six years, up from $300 million over six years in TEA-21.

The America Bikes request that new roads be designed and built to safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians was not included. A more detailed analysis of the good & bad for bicycling in the bill is on the AmericaBikes web site.

The bill is scheduled to come before the full Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in early February. Our challenge will be to retain full funding for Safe Routes, protect existing programs and work for improvements in other areas. . . .

Most recent bills passed by Congress have started relatively small, then grown as additional programs were added to garner support. This bill may take a different path, as the funding level may be reduced in order to pass. If so, the bicycle community will need to mobilize strongly to insure that our programs are not cut severely or eliminated.

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