National Bike Summit: Congress triples TIGER funding, one of our major Natl Bike Summit asks for 2018 - get your community's TIGER applications ready to go!

One of our big asks at the 2018 National Bike Summit was for Congress to continue and increase the TIGER grant program.

Annual visits to Washington DC are one of our most effective advocacy activities
Annual visits to Washington DC are one of our most effective advocacy activities of the year. Your membership & support helps make them happen, and your messages & calls to Congress in support help make them more effective.

At the Summit's Capitol Hill Day, we visited the congressional offices of all ten Missouri members of Congress and Senator.  We asked them specifically to support continuation of TIGER and to support increased funding for the TIGER grant program.

We heard UNANIMOUS support for TIGER from our Missouri congressional delegation.

And now the TIGER transportation grant program has been renewed as part of the recent budget deal--with triple the funding it received last year. Find out more, and how your community can apply for TIGER, here.

Support for bicycling, walking, transit, and multimodal approach to transportation has grown dramatically in Missouri's Congressional delegation

I can't say how amazing it was to hear the support for TIGER from office after office--and with equal levels of support from both the 7 Republican and 3 Democratic offices. 

The reason this is important for bicycling and walking is because bicycling and walking projects receive about double the percentage of funding from TIGER (just over 4% of all funds) as from general federal transportation funds (just over 2%). Public transportation projects also receive a decent share of funds.  And a larger and larger percentage of funds each year go to "Complete Streets" type projects, which score well under TIGER guidelines.

This shows that there is significant demand for bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and Complete Streets projects when these projects are allowed to compete on an equal basis with highway, rail, port, and other major transportation projects that can apply for TIGER funding.  It helps fund important projects and it helps us make the case that a higher percentage of funding should be dedicated to bicycling, walking, transit, and  Complete Streets programs in all federal transportation funding--because communities across the nation are asking for it.

And the 100% support from Missouri members of Congress is a pleasant surprise because we know the history.  We have been attending the National Bike Summit and making these annual visits to our Missouri Congressional offices on Capitol Hill since about 2005.

Our Missouri congressional delegation has not always been so receptive to our and our allied organizations requests for support of programsm that are good for bicycling and walking.  In fact, just 5 and 10 years ago we were happy when if they would just listen politely to our requests.  We never expected more than a small handful to step up and support multimodal transportation funding.

Now that has changed, almost 180 degrees. 

What has made the change? Communities large and small, urban and rural, doing the work to make bicycling, walking, and trails a reality in their communities

That 180 degree turnaround is a testament to the hard work of dozens of Missourians and our dedicated advocacy organizations who have played the long game by making regular visits to Washington and their local Congressional offices over the past years and decades.  And to the thousands of Missourians who have taken the time to write and call their elected representatives in Washington to ask for their support for walking and bicycling over the decades.

And most of all, to the communities, organizations, and individuals across Missouri who have worked so hard to change attitudes in their own communities.  It makes so much difference to our representatives in Washington, DC, when we can walk into their offices and tell them about the brand-new Complete Streets policies in Cooter, Noel, Monett, Andersonville, Florissant, and Kansas City.  And amazing trails and greenway projects in the heart of St. Louis and the heart of rural Missouri with the Rock Island Trail--along with dozens of other Missouri communities ranging from the biggest cities to the suburbs and the smallest rural hamlets. And regional trails plans happening in cities like Springfield and Columbia but also rural southwest and west-central Missouri.  And major national bicycle touring corridors that cut across every one of Missouri's eight Congressional Districts.

When you can point to these amazing projects in every district, in cities from the largest to the smallest and across our rural countryside, you can just feel the interest of our members of Congress and their staff members focus.  And just 5 or 10 years ago, that wasn't happening--partly because we had only a few projects in only a few parts of the state to point to.

League of American Bicyclists update on the major TIGER funding increase

Here is the League of American Bicyclists' update on this issue, explaining how it happened and why it is important

Congress voted on a budget deal this week that will triple the funding of the TIGER program. The fiscal year 2018 budget will now have $1.5 billion dollars to spend on multi-modal and hard-to-fund projects. This is really great news, especially given the 2016 TIGER grants also announced during the National Bike Summit.

The 2016 grant awards announced this year included a critical trail for Native Alaskans that will increase year-round access for villagers on Nelson Island to services, including the local hospital. TIGER also funded a trail project in Philadelphia which fills a key gap in the Schuylkill River Trail network.

The biggest story of the TIGER grant round awarded this year was the large number of complete streets projects that added or improved bike lanes, trails and pedestrian sidewalks in numerous downtowns. These types of projects create or fix bicycling and walking on-street networks, and many were coupled with economic development projects in town centers. This is important because the TIGER grant application goes through a benefit-cost analysis and the US DOT determined these projects scored well.

The TIGER grant cycle should start soon. The budget Congress just passed is for Fiscal year 2018, which runs from October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018. Given that we are halfway through the year we should expect to see the call for proposal sometime this summer!

For more information on the budget implications for biking, check next week, and make sure to follow us on Twitter.

Working to create a world-class bicycle, pedestrian, and trails transportation system all across Missouri is one of four major goals in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Working for sufficient funding for bicycling and walking, and for a fair share for bicycle, pedestrian, and trails funding in all federal funding programs is one way we effectively accomplish that goal. Our annual visits to every Missouri Congressional office and our annual Capitol Day in Jefferson City are just two of many ways we work to take this message to our elected officials.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!