PTNY is dedicated to maximizing the new transportation bill’s impact on funding trails and infrastructure that supports and encourages bicycling and walking. Our state leaders and agency officials will play a much larger role in deciding how to use their federal transportation funding so we must begin now to make our interests known. Here is what we can all be doing.
- 1. Urge NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald to release existing dedicated Transportation Enhancement Program funds for a new round of grant funding
NYSDOT still has up to $50 million dedicated for the Transportation Enhancements Program that should be put to work to build trails, sidewalks, and other infrastructure for biking and walking. If there is no grant round and these dollars are not obligated, they are at risk of being returned to the federal government when they request rescissions. .
- Urge Governor Cuomo, your state Senator and Assemblyperson, and NYSDOT Commissioner McDonald to guarantee that NYS will NOT opt out of Recreational Trails or Transportation Alternatives funding. Our state lawmakers can play a key role in whether NYSDOT chooses to use its Transportation Alternative dollars to support trails, bicycling and walking or road building. Already some states are planning to draft legislation that outlines how they will implement the federal transportation bill. All NY’s state representatives are up for re-election in November. Make sure you know where incumbents and challengers stand on funding for active transportation.
- Get involved with your MPO or DOT regional bicycle and pedestrian advisory group. MPOs will control half of the Transportation Alternatives funding that can be used for trails and biking and walking infrastructure. Attend a meeting of your MPO or DOT region bike-ped advisory committee and advocate for a strong focus on trails, bicycling and walking. If your MPO or DOT region doesn’t have an advisory group, advocate for starting one.
In the coming weeks we will be working with the NY Bicycling Coalition and trail groups around the state to formulate a coordinated plan of action. In the past, because there was dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancements, and Safe Routes to School programs, our state lawmakers and elected and agency officials had little role in deciding whether to invest in bicycling and walking. With this new transportation bill we have the opportunity as well as the duty to ensure that New York’s leaders support active transportation.