TxDOT has written rules that allow them to transfer targeted biking and walking money to highways and rest stops instead. ACT NOW to save these funds for trails and connected bicycle networks in your community– your voice will make a difference! Please email comments to [email protected] with subject line “TAP” by 5 PM, August 11.
Under federal rules, TxDOT can move up to half the funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) into a general fund, moving away $70 million every two years that is targeted by Congress for biking and walking. It may seem like a good idea to put more money toward our highway system, but $70 million over two years would only buy a few miles of highway at best. That same amount could build amazing biking and walking facilities, because a biking and walking network is only a fraction of the cost of building or rebuilding a highway.
See the proposed new rules here. In addition, there are changes to the rules for funding apportionment in Category 9, which covers TAP (and formerly covered Transportation Enhancements).
Here are some talking points to consider when writing to TxDOT. Feel free to pick and choose among them– the important thing is for you to let TxDOT know that Texans care about bike/ped funding.
- I live in [Your City] and my occupation is _____. I walk/ride a bike. I am a member/supporter of BikeTexas.
- Use personal stories as applicable– do your family members ride bikes? Do your parents prefer to walk? Would you ride more if it were safer? Make it personal.
- We’ve found that public officials are more responsive when people state their occupation.
- TAP funding is important to me because ______. Please do not transfer any funds out of TAP. Texas should use TAP funds for projects like Safe Routes to School, protected bike networks, and regional trail systems.
- Tell your story, like “My child wants to ride a bike to school” or “I walk to work so my family can use the car during the day.” Personal stories will get TxDOT’s attention and let them know that Texans have diverse reasons for walking and biking.
- Do not cancel Texas’ Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. SRTS should receive at least 20% of TAP funds so we can continue to be a national leader in this significant program.
- Allow non-infrastructure SRTS programs to be funded through TAP.
- Allow TAP funds to be used for preliminary planning and engineering for bike/ped projects.
- Allow up to 15% of the local match for TAP funds to be in-kind.
- Allow projects from MPO areas with 200K+ populations to submit to the statewide call for projects
- When there is local debate over a project, one letter of opposition from a local authority should not be enough to disqualify a project from TAP funding. Commit to an equitable process for TAP projects.
- With Texas growing so rapidly, the funding provided in TAP can fill this gap in our transportation network.
It’s well documented that giving people protected networks for biking and walking is good for public health, the economy, and the overall livability of a community. Texas needs these TAP funds to be spent where they are intended and where they can do the most good: building an active transportation network across our great state. Texas should be setting an example for the rest of the nation in how to do transportation right, instead of falling behind.
Thank you for speaking out to make Texas a great place to bike and walk.