Last Friday, March 25, the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council (H-GAC TPC) voted not to cut $12.8 million of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, helping the Houston Bikeway Program continue to keep Houston on a roll.
When H-GAC TPC tried to cut this funding from existing bicycle and pedestrian projects, including many that were shovel-ready, the council received staunch opposition from BikeHouston, Houston Tomorrow, the Citizens Transportation Coalition, as well as Houston-area management districts.
Due the groundswell of support for bicycle and pedestrian projects, the H-GAC TPC, voted on Friday for Option 3, which did not remove existing funding from bicycle/pedestrian, livable centers, and transit projects.
Option 3 does, however, allocate remaining discretionary funding for the next three years – $79.8M – entirely towards road and freight rail projects.
BikeTexas’ Executive Director Robin Stallings’ wrote a letter to the members of the H-GAC TPC in support of additional bicycle and pedestrian funding, but it was the massive showing by citizens in favor the public meeting on Friday that was the key in the council’s vote.
Advocates can claim victory for saving the bicycle and pedestrian projects’ current funding.
For those looking forward to the day when anyone feels safe to walk or bike in Houston, it was a disappointment that the council did not vote for Option 4, which would have spread the $79.8M proportionately between road and freight “mobility” projects and bicycle/pedestrian, livable centers, and transit “alternative modes.” (See PDF document explaining Options 1-4 here.)
BikeTexas will continue working with BikeHouston, Houston Tomorrow, the Citizens Transportation Coalition to ensure that H-GAC TPC will consider allocating future discretionary funding in a more balanced manner.