By Charles Pekow – Bikeshare programs are taking off with great success all around the country. They've been doing so largely without federal support. But legislation recently introduced in Congress would clarify that bikeshare programs would qualify for federal financing. The trouble is, transportation law and grant rules were written before anyone tried bikeshare, leaving the program in a legally “gray area,” since it's not defined in federal law or regulation, says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), sponsor of the Bikeshare Transit Act of 2017 (H.R. 3305).
The bill would allow federal funding to buy bikeshare-related equipment and building bikeshare facilities. It would also clarify that grantees could use Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality money for bikeshare.
“The Bikeshare Transit Act will remove significant barriers facing new and existing bikeshare projects applying for federal funding while underscoring that bikeshare programs drive economic development and are an important part of bringing choice and adding value to America's transportation system,” Blumenauer said in the Congressional Record.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) cosponsored it, giving the measure bipartisan support. Blumenauer and Buchanan co-chair the Congressional Bike Caucus.