Are Bicycle-Pedestrian Projects Banned from the 2012 TIGER IV Program?

Bike Commuters on Hawthorne Bridge, Portland Oregon (BikePortland.org)

Congress has sent a strong message to USDOT about how to allocate 2012 TIGER funding.  The 2012 transportation appropriation bill, which became law in mid-November, contains this language in the TIGER section:

“The conferees direct the Secretary to focus on road, transit, rail and port projects.”

So the language doesn’t ban bike-ped projects and improvements (“focus” could be interpreted in various ways).  But USDOT might be well advised to tread lightly, or risk giving TIGER opponents more reasons to eliminate future funding for the program.

The language is almost certainly a reaction to a perception that bike-ped projects received too much funding in previous TIGER programs, and the reality of a very bike-friendly USDOT.  Whether bike-ped projects received too much TIGER funding will depend on your definition of “too much.”  So let’s look at the actual numbers, and then you can decide for yourself.

  • TIGER I (Recovery Act) allocated $43,500,000 to two exclusively bike-ped projects.  That was about 3% of the $1,498,000,000 awarded and 4% of the 51 projects.
  • TIGER II allocated $25,200,000 to two exclusively bike-ped projects.  That was 4.5% out of the $556,500,000 awarded to capital projects and about 5% of the 42 projects. (TIGER II also awarded $27,500,000 for 33 planning grants.)

Summing up: In the first two TIGER programs combined there were four projects (out of 93) which received $68,700,000 (out of $2,054,500,000).

Of course there were quite a few highway, transits and rail projects that did include a bike-ped component, such as adding sidewalks and adding connections to existing trails and paths. That’s the good news for bike-ped advocates – those projects will likely continue to be funded through TIGER.

It’s interesting to note that all of those projects were submitted by public agencies, and had to have widespread community support, in order to receive a USDOT grant.

What do you think?  Did bike-ped projects receive too much funding?

For more details, including the highway, transit and rail projects that incorporated bike-ped facilities, see the following:

Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog asks “Can America Afford Not to Bike More?