The PA House and Senate both passed a $2.3 billion transportation bill that for the first time will designate state funding to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
Most of the funding will go towards bridges, roads and mass transit, but the bill also calls for the creation of a $144 million multimodal fund for railways, airports, ports, bicycle lanes, pedestrian paths, and discretionary grants for high-priority transportation projects.
This is the first time the state has designated funding for bicycle infrastructure. Municipalities, regional planning authorities, foundations and some federal funding have so far fueled the development of Greater Philadelphia’s trail system and bicycle paths.
Each mode has a designated minimum which increases over the 5-year span of the bill. Ports and waterways, for example, have a $8 million minimum in fiscal year 2013-2014 and a $10 million minimum the following year. The full fund is available to each mode, but the minimums assure that no single mode is neglected on a given year.
Programs related to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure have a $2 million minimum per year, which is about half of what the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia advocated for.
“We sought a higher amount, but still it’s the first time biking and walking has been recognized in a state bill and the first time there has been any designated funding,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, policy director at the Coalition.
Stuart is hopeful that individual counties will seek more funding for the trail system now that the state has shown at least some commitment.
(Photo via Flickr user K_Gradinger)