Thanks go out to two of our local House Representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl) for co-sponsoring a house bill that will allow communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make streets and sidewalks safer for all users through a new federal credit assistance program that would direct millions specifically for low-income communities. GMN is a proud advocate of the bill considering the large percentage of low-income Miami-Dade residents who have no other means of transportation than walking and biking. The bill would redirect a percentage of current spending toward bicycle/pedestrian projects in low income communities.
More about the bill from the League of American Bicyclists:
So what does the bill do?
- It creates a low-interest long-term loan program for communities to build biking and walking networks.
- 25% of the funding must be spent in low income communities
- The funding, $11 million, is a set aside from the $1 billion dollar TIFIA loan program funded in MAP-21.
Provides common sense transportation solutions
- The bill offers a new tool for Mayors and local governments to finance needed transportation infrastructure. According to Sires: “This novel approach will add another tool in the toolbox for mayors, governors, and private investors to reinvigorate their communities and develop a strong, vibrant middle class.”
- The bill doesn’t add any new costs to the transportation bill, or to the federal budget.
Builds better integrated bicycling and multimodal networks that reduce transportation costs and close gaps in job access for low-income families and individuals.
- Nationally the average family with an income less than $50,000 spends 30% on transportation
- Residents earning less than $30,000 per year account for 28% of bike trips in 2009- more than 1.1 billion bike trips overall.
- Americans are driving less, and want to bike and walk more. Creating safe infrastructure gives commuters cheap and safe options.
- Between 2000-2012, bike commuting rose 61% nationwide, and rose by 80% in bicycle friendly communities. Where infrastructure is safe and accessible, people bike more.
Meets the need for safety and infrastructure
There are still disparities in access to safe infrastructure for low-income communities and people of color across the country.
Bicycling and walking make up 12% of all trips, but over 16% of all fatalities
The fatality rate for Hispanic bicyclists is 23% higher than for white bicyclists and 30% higher for African American bicyclists than for white bicyclists.
71% of people of color agree that safer bicycling would make their community better.
Read more about the bill here.