Congressman Sires Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Federal Credit Assistance for Americaâ€™s Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure.
(Washington D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires introduced the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act of 2014. Modeled after the successful Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), this bipartisan legislation will allow communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make our streets and sidewalks safer for all users. This proven model has demonstrated that each dollar of federal financing can provide up to $10 in credit assistance and leverage an additional $30 in private or other public sector funding. Most importantly, by using existing federal transportation funds, this program will not create a single dollar of new government spending.
â€œLast night, President Obama called on Congress to help rebuild our middle class, and this bill would do just that,â€ said Congressman Sires. â€œWhen we make our roads and sidewalks safer, we help connect workers to new jobs. We create communities where families want to live and businesses want to invest. And we give mothers and fathers peace of mind, knowing they arenâ€™t sending their children to school on the unsafe sidewalks and roadways that exist in so many of our rural and urban communities.â€
Last year, the League of American Bicyclists and the Sierra Club published a report entitled "The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equityâ€. While the report highlights strong growth in bicycle ridership across Americaâ€™s communities, it also raises concerns about the significant challenges faced by many underserved communities. To that point, in 2001 the fatality rate was 23% higher for Hispanic and 30% higher for African-Americans when compared to white riders. This legislation would require that 25% of project funding benefit underserved communities, with the goal of creating a more equitable, safe roadway environment for all Americans.
â€œI am pleased that this legislation has drawn bipartisan support here in the House,â€ stated Congressman Sires. â€œThis novel approach will add another tool in the toolbox for mayors, governors, and private investors to reinvigorate their communities and develop a strong, vibrant middle class.â€