February 11, 2016
Katy Hartnett, director of government relations
On Tuesday February 9, President Obama released his fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget request, which lays out the administration’s spending recommendations for the coming year. How does this relate to getting more people on bikes? The federal government funds several important programs that help communities build places to ride, and the President’s budget highlights the need to expand transportation options across the country.
The budget proposes a significant increase in funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER grant program from $500 million in the current fiscal year to $1.25 billion. This program provides grants to build multi-modal transportation projects and many communities have used TIGER grants to construct innovative facilities that incorporate bicycle infrastructure.
Another piece of the President’s budget proposal relates to the implementation of the FAST Act, the five-year transportation reauthorization bill. Specifically, he highlights the $835 million in funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program, which is one of the primary federal programs helping communities build bicycle paths, lanes and trails. This matches the dollar amount already approved by Congress.
President Obama also proposes fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund program (LWCF) at $900 million in FY17. The LWCF provides opportunities to purchase and develop land for conservation and recreation, and communities across the country have built bike paths with these funds.
Both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will also release budget proposals, and then the various plans will be reconciled to produce the budget that will fund the government for the next fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2016.
We look forward to seeing the budgets proposed by Congress and ultimately hope that they reflect the critical need for more and better bike infrastructure across the country.