Late last week, the House of Representatives adopted a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, ending months of debate over legislation intended to improve everything from roads and bridges to lead pipes and the internet.
There is quite a bit in this new legislation. While it is not perfect on issues like equity or climate change, several elements of the bill are encouraging and helpful for people who walk, roll, bike, and use public transit. This includes:
- Increased funding for active transportation projects and public transit;
- Directing state and regional organizations to develop Complete Streets policies and standards; and
- Strengthening and broadening language related to Safe Routes to School programming.
What does this mean for the Kansas City region? In short, it means more money for projects to improve walking and biking, better standards for related policies and plans, and a more explicit acknowledgment of the importance of these modes in tackling the climate crisis.
It’s also important to note that this isn’t necessarily the end of new spending on multimodal transportation. Congress is still working to finalize and vote on a reconciliation bill which could include other elements such as:
- The Neighborhood Access and Equity grant program, which will provide funding for active mobility initiatives in communities harmed by highways, and
- The Community Climate Incentive grant program, which will provide grants to reduce surface transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Stay tuned for more updates and potential opportunities to speak up for active transportation legislation in DC!