We try not to make too many calls for action here at CABA. However, the NC Legislature is considering a bill (H817 / fulltext: http://legiscan.com/NC/text/H817) that will have a serious impact on funding for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, limiting the ability of local jurisdictions to access funding normally used to construct sidewalk and bicycle projects. With this bill in place, projects like the Little Sugar Creek Greenway will been much more difficult to accomplish, if not impossible.
Not only will the bill halt future projects, it will deny funding to projects already in the pipeline if not under construction by June 30, 2013. That is correct, projects at 100% acquisition and engineering, but without a shovel in the ground within 37 days from this post, will flat-line. This incredibly short timeline does not allow time to prioritize projects, much less get required bids for construction.
IMPACT ON URBAN AREAS – AND FUTURE URBAN AREAS
This legislation is particularly bad for urban areas, where people have already begun to find greater efficiency in avoiding congestion through bicycling and walking. With the populations of cities large and small expected to boom over the coming decades, this bill will increasingly limit city’s and town’s ability to offer a variety of transportation options.
During a time when creating jobs is a top priority – this is one of the last measures that should be taken. A recent report published by Smart Growth America titled, “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation” (Smart Growth America, 2011) concluded that transportation infrastructure projects that included bicycle and pedestrian facilities (e.g., sidewalks, multi-use paths, dedicated bicycle lanes) created more jobs per million dollars spent than road only projects!
THE CALL FOR ACTION
Limiting bicycle and pedestrian projects impacts health, economic development and transportation at a time when innovation in these areas is most important – the decisions made now will impact future generations.
Please contact your Senate and House Representatives! Find out who represents you:
Let them know you do not want to limit the ability of your community to make transportation decisions for you and your future generations.