DearColleague.us

Letter

Albio Sires

From the office of:

Albio Sires

From: The Honorable Albio Sires
Sent By: madeleine.pike@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 3978
Date: 4/10/2014

Help Build Safe and Accessible Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure

Cosponsor H.R. 3978: the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act

Current Cosponsors: Carson, Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart, McCollum, Blumenauer, Norton, Tierney, Price, Connolly, Bustos, Lowenthal, Enyart, Lofgren, McGovern, Lujan, Doyle, Lee, Bennie Thompson, O’Rourke, Hank Johnson, Slaughter, Cicilline, Bobby Scott, Brownley, Neal, Ellison, Capps, Shea-Porter, Tonko, Capuano, Crowley, Owens, Tim Bishop, Peterson, Cleaver, Huffman, Veasey, McDermott, Scott Peters, Honda

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in supporting a bipartisan effort to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure by becoming a cosponsor of H.R. 3978, the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act. This bill creates a new tool for mayors and communities to finance much-needed transportation infrastructure, including in low-income neighborhoods, without adding any spending to the deficit.

This legislation creates a long-term low-interest loan opportunity for mayors and local governments to build safe and accessible bicycling and pedestrian networks by creating a set aside from the larger Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. TIFIA’s proven record has shown that each dollar of Federal funds can provide up to $10 in credit assistance – and leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.

Currently, TIFIA’s significant $50 million minimum project cost requirement puts the program out of reach for smaller, standalone bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.

The New Opportunities pilot program would create a low-interest, long-term loan program for communities to build biking and walking networks. The funding, $11 million, is a set aside from the $1 billion dollar TIFIA loan program funded in MAP-21.

Projects eligible for New Opportunities credit assistance include:

  1. The construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road pathways for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation to create a comprehensive and connected transportation system, including sidewalks, bicycling infrastructure and parking, pedestrian and bicycle signals, traffic calming techniques, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure, and transportation projects to achieve compliance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990;
  2. Innovative infrastructure for bicycling and walking, such as designs included in the National Association of City Transportation Officials guide for urban street design to enhance the ability of communities to develop solutions to increase non-motorized travel;
  3. A project for the conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, or other nonmotorized transportation users that connects to or expands an existing network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities;
  4. A bike share program as a standalone project, or in conjunction with other infrastructure projects.

The bill also helps to create necessary access to reliable, affordable, and safe transportation options to low-income communities by requiring at least 25 percent of funding be spent in low-income communities.

I hope that you will consider cosponsoring H.R. 2978: New Opportunities for Bicycling and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act of 2014 to give mayors and local governments a new opportunity to build safe and accessible transportation networks in their communities. Please contact Madeleine Pike in my office atMadeleine.pike@mail.house.gov or 5-7919 for more information or to become a cosponsor.

Sincerely,

Albio Sires

Member of Congress