Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gov Corbett's Transportation Grants Neglect Bicycling

On Wednesday, Governor Tom Corbett announced the awarding of $8.4 million in grants to 106 transportation projects around Pennsylvania.  This money comes from the ticket revenue generated by Philadelphia's automatic red light enforcement (ARLE) cameras.  The loot gleaned from those aggressive Philadelphia motorists is split 50/50 between the city and the state.  Projects which “improve safety, enhance mobility and reduce congestion” were eligible for funding.  PennDOT received over 300 applications totaling $68 million.  None of these projects described in the press release are located in Philadelphia, presumably because the city has the other 50% share of the ticket revenue already.

Before Philadelphia motorists accuse the state government of spending their speeding ticket money on traffic lights in Erie, it should be noted that roughly 40% of the grant money is going to the four surrounding PA counties.  Specifically, $3.4 million will fund 24 projects located in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.  Examples of projects include crosswalk painting, handicapped access, and pedestrian signage on Market Street in Millbourne Borough.

Obviously we support investment in infrastructure projects which improve pedestrian safety.  None of the projects listed in the press release, however, appear to improve bicycling infrastructure or facilities.  Investing in bicycling benefits motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and projects which do so would certainly seem to “improve safety, enhance mobility and reduce congestion.”

We hope the Governor’s Office considers bicycling infrastructure and facilities projects for future ARLE grants.

The local counties which benefited from these funds:
$297,708 in Bucks County for 8 projects
$879,187 in Chester County for 5 projects
$487,657 in Delaware County for 6 projects
$1,764,435 in Montgomery County for 5 projects

The press release and full list of projects funded is available here.  The authorizing statute is here.