Two States Issue Walking/Biking Infrastructure Fundingeditor@aashto.org August 13, 2021 0 COMMENTS
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the Vermont Agency of Transportation – known as VTrans – recently provided funding to support the further development of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in their respective states.
[Above photo by the Louisiana DOTD]
The Louisiana DOTD noted in a statement that it is providing $19.6 million to 23 pedestrian and bicycle-focused projects statewide via its federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Program or TAP.
“We’re pleased to have these 23 projects around our state selected to be part of TAP,” noted Shawn Wilson, Louisiana DOTD secretary and the 2020-2021 vice president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in a statement.
“As important as our major infrastructure projects are, we must remember that smaller infrastructure projects, especially those involving pedestrians and bicyclists, are equally important,” he stressed.
“TAP is a step in the right direction to continue making Louisiana welcoming of all forms of transportation, whether it’s motorized or not,” Wilson added.
[Editor’s note: The Iowa Department of Transportation noted in a statement the availability of its 2021-2022 Iowa Bicycle Map in both paper and digital formats. Static and interactive online versions of that map are available by clicking here.]
The Louisiana DOTD noted that projects eligible for TAP funding include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, safe routes for non-drivers, conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, scenic turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas, archaeological activities, storm water mitigation, wildlife management, and community improvement activities.
Those “community improvement” activities can include outdoor advertising management, historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities, and vegetation management.
Meanwhile, VTrans recently awarded $3.3 million in grants to municipalities statewide for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects.
“Walking and bicycling, especially for the many short trips that are made, are a great way to reduce congestion and provide an opportunity for physical activity for Vermonters and visitors,” said Joe Kaplan, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for VTrans, in a statement.
“We see a positive effect on property values, tourism, and business growth, as well as less traffic congestion, better public health, and lower personal transportation costs,” he added.
The agency noted that the 2021 projects supported by those grants include a continuation of the initiative to fund small-scale improvements using 100 percent state funds. Those smaller projects address critical safety needs, such as pedestrian crossings and filling critical sidewalk gaps, and the goal is get them constructed quickly with a minimum of delays, VTrans said.
“These grants are instrumental to the fulfillment of two of the agency’s strategic goals – to grow Vermont’s economy by providing a reliable and efficient transportation system and to make Vermont more affordable by providing accessible, convenient, and affordable travel options,” explained Joe Flynn, Vermont’s transportation secretary.