Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon filed a bill yesterday that attempts to direct a fair share of federal transportation aid to facilities that bicyclists and walkers can use. If the Active Community Transportation Act goes through, it will redress the famous imbalance that has favored costly highways, even while bike commuting grew 43 percent in a decade and increasing numbers of Americans took up cycling for their health or to avoid buying gasoline.
The bill, H.R. 4722, proposes a contest among localities for grants to complete active transportation networks, with potential grants of $5 million to $15 million per year for up to three years. It's a concept similar to the TIGER grants awarded last month, which saw unprecedented competition for stimulus money aimed at greenways, rapid transit and other energy-thrifty transportation facilities.