U.S. Transportation Undersecretary for Policy Roy Kienitz and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, both avid cyclists who participated in "Bike to Work Day 2010," encouraged fellow event participants following their ride to Freedom Plaza this morning by announcing that the Department is changing the way it funds transit-related bike improvements.
"People are enthusiastic about a return to a healthier, greener way to get where they need to go," Secretary Ray LaHood said. "Bicycles help reduce congestion, improve our environment, and are a smart investment for our country’s transportation system."
"The Department is serious about incorporating bikes into our transportation system," Kienitz said. "The Secretary has directed transportation agencies to go beyond the minimum standards and to include safe, convenient facilities for cyclists."
In addition to the Secretary’s policy statement on bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, the Department will also issue a new policy statement that is expected to go into effect this month that will allow the FTA to provide federal funding for bicycle improvements that have a relationship to public transportation if they are within three miles of a transit stop or station.
"I’m here to say that bicycling and public transit are perfect partners in our cause to clean up our air and improve public health," Rogoff said to riders gathered at the Freedom Center. "The Obama Administration will keep supporting cycle-friendly policies because they help connect communities in ways that are beneficial to everyone at very little cost." Rogoff added.
Rogoff noted that increasing the levels of both cycling and public transportation use meant greater potential for bike-transit coordination, adding that the percentage of buses with bike racks has nearly tripled in the U.S. in only eight years, from 27 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2008. In some cities, bike-and-ride has been so successful that the demand for facilities exceeds the available supply.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), he said, is a leader in promoting bike-and-ride, accommodating bicycle riders at most of its 86 Metrorail stations.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the FTA will provide $10.4 billion in federal funding for public transportation to states and local communities across the U.S.