April 11, 2019

Cardin, Wicker Work to Improve Local Authority for Bike and Pedestrian Alternatives

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced legislation (S. 1098) to support and improve the highly successful Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. TAP is predicated on the idea that local governments should exercise authority over dedicated federal transportation funding for local active transportation priorities, including bikeways and sidewalks – infrastructure that reduces traffic congestion, provides children with safe routes to school, and gives communities more affordable transportation options. Nationally, total authorization in FY2019 for the transportation alternatives plan was $850 million.

“Local governments – planning and transportation authorities – typically understand the transit needs of their communities better than state-level or federal officials,” said Senator Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “I’m proud to partner with Senator Wicker to empower local leaders in Maryland and nationwide with the resources to enhance their neighborhoods, improve economic development and improve quality of life and air quality.”

“The Transportation Alternatives Program improves public safety, quality of life, and job creation through support for non-traditional transportation projects,” Senator Wicker said. “The targeted improvements Senator Cardin and I have proposed would give greater flexibility for smaller communities to use these resources for maximum impact.”

In 2012, Cardin and former Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) authored an amendment to the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) that consolidated three U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) surface transportation programs (Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails) into the new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).  Under TAP, local communities can apply for funds for a variety of local transportation needs, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, Safe Routes to School initiatives, community improvement activities, recreational trails and more.

The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which converted the TAP program into a set-aside in the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, mandated state reporting on their transportation alternatives plans. The first report year was 2016. On average, there was insufficient funding for more than half of the priority projects nationwide at a potential cost of nearly $3.5 trillion.

The Cardin-Wicker legislation (S. 1098), which improves the TAP program by strengthening local control, opening the program to smaller localities and adjusting funding limits, is supported by Maryland-based Bikemore and Bike Maryland, as well as  

  • League of American Bicyclists
  • Safe Routes to School National Partnership
  • National Association of Regional Councils
  • National League of Cities
  • US Conference of Mayors
  • AARP
  • America Walks
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Heart Association
  • American Planning Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Society of Landscape Architects
  • Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
  • Lakeshore Foundation
  • National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • National Complete Streets Coalition
  • PeopleForBikes
  • Safe Kids Worldwide
  • Safe States Alliance
  • Sierra Club
  • Transportation for America
  • Trust for America's Health
  • YMCA of the USA

###