By Charles Pekow
It's official: improvements to bicycle infrastructure within three miles of a train station or bus depot can get federal as part of a public transportation project. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that radius in its new rules governing Eligibility of Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements Under Federal Transit Law.
FTA announced the final rule in August, a year after proposing the idea and receiving public comment. Most commentators favored the proposed three-mile radius.
The rules will allow funding for bike parking, bike lanes, signals, bike racks for buses and trains, and related bike infrastructure in a variety of federal grant programs, including some bicycle advocates may not be familiar with – so the rule could be a new impetus for using federal money to improve bicycle infrastructure, at least as it coordinates with public transit. While bike facilities within the radius are automatically eligible, ones further away can be if the grant proposal shows they will help people get to and from public transit.
Affected programs include the following:
Urbanized Area Formula Program
New Starts and Small Starts Major Capital Investment Programs
Fixed Guideway Modernization Program
Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary Program
Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities Formula Program
Non-Urbanized Area Formula Program
Public Transportation on Indian Reservations
Job Access and Reverse Commute Formula Program
New Freedom Program
Paul S. Sarbanes Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands.
Note: the rules allow use of federal funds for infrastructure for bike-sharing programs but federal law prohibits buying bicycles for it.
For details, see the August 19 Federal Register.
Editor's Note: Projects that might benefit from the new rule include the PRATT Trail and improvements at the Intermodal Hub in downtown Salt Lake City.