The feds are rescinding transportation money, and walking and biking projects are getting hit harder than other programs, according to data from Rails to Trails. Among the worst? Washington State. Although “transportation enhancement” funding (where most pedestrian and bike funding falls) only made up 2.1 percent of the state’s federal transportation funding, it represents a whopping 34.6 percent of rescinded funding.
Why are funds being rescinded? Ridiculous politicking, of course. Streetsblog reports:
This isn’t coming out of the blue. It’s part of a game Congress played five years back, when they approved more transportation funding than the White House would allow. They left the bigger number in the bill, only to periodically ask the states for some of it back in the form of rescissions. Now is one of those times.
Washington State’s transportation enhancement cut is the eleventh most disproportionate in the country (Oregon is tenth).
Streetsblog goes on to explain that, in previous rescissions, funds had to be cut proportionally. That was not required this time, though:
Off-limits this time around are funds for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Railway-Highway Crossings Program, the Surface Transportation Program, and Safe Routes to Schools.
That means there are fewer programs left on the chopping block, increasing the chances that bicycling and transit programs will be affected — and there are no rules saying state DOTs have to play fair.
Many did not. Here’s the Rails to Trails breakdown of TE rescissions in the nation (PDF).