Friday, April 09, 2010

Solving Transportation Funding By Eliminating "Bike Trails"

Here we go again. Another leaky think tank has offered the sacrificial lamb that will solve our transportation woes. We've heard it before from the Former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, The Heritage Foundation and even AAA MidAtlantic. This time it is the Commonwealth Foundation spewing the anti-bike rhetoric.

"Funding for our transportation needs will be found in redirecting spending on bike trails, beautification efforts, corporate welfare, hockey arenas, convention centers, film producers, lobbyists, and the like, and putting that money toward filling potholes, building roads and retrofitting bridges."

Now wait a minute - bike trails are up there with Corporate Welfare? Can't argue with that.

Let's start with a lesson on bicycle facilities, there is no such thing as a "bike trail". It is a layman's term that is used generally for any type of facility that accommodates bicycle traffic. A signed bike route= bike trail, bike lane= bike trail, multi-use path= bike trail.

But let's look at the real impact of bicycle facilities on the transportation budget, our region is finally spending some real money here and almost all of it federal funding. Such as the the $17 million TIGER Grant in PA and $5 million for the Chester Valley Trail.

Compare that to:
  • I-95 rebuild from Cottman to Girard $2 Billion
  • US 202 rebuild from Doylestown to the Delaware State Line $1-2 Billion
  • I-95 Scudder Falls Bridge $300 Million
  • I-95 PA Turnpike Interchange - $600 Million
I could go on an on, in fact according to DVRPC the funding gap between regional transportation needs and available sources is $45 Billion. Without action this gap will widen simply because gas tax revenue will continue to decline with fuel efficient vehicles and flat traffic growth.

You know maybe spending nothing on transportation could be an option, I'll miss the smooth roads and the Chilean fruit that can't be delivered to my local Wal-Mart but nothing reduces traffic on a road like a closed bridge that bikes can cross. Eventually every road would become a "bike path".


Unknown said...

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