Campaign targets $1 billion boost to US cycling

Alliance seeks to double federal spending

The League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking are working hard to double federal funding spent on bicycling and walking projects to more than $2 billion in the USA by 2013.

The Advocacy Advance Initiative is a three-year campaign driven by the two cycling advocacy organisations that is designed to target the amount of federal funding that is put toward cycling and walking infrastructure annually.

According to the Federal Highway Administration's Financial Management Information System (FMIS), US states spent more $1 billion in federal funding on bicycling and pedestrian projects in the 2010 fiscal year.

"Our goal to double that amount over the next three years," said Meghan Cahill of the League of American Bicyclists. "This initiative has been in place for more than a year and we do a lot of research on important issues that could help with state and local advocacy groups to apply for funding. The funding we get allows us to give grants to local organisations."

Gaining an additional $1 billion in funding will not be easy especially with the recent loss of Chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure committee, James Oberstar, who lost his seat in the US Congress after serving 18 terms. He was a big supporter of bicycling and paved the way for an active transportation movement stating, "We're going to convert America from the hydrocarbon economy to the carbohydrate economy."

"It will be difficult, especially because there is a whole new congress going in place next year," Cahill said. "Chairman Oberstar was a leading proponent for bicycling and pedestrian initiatives along with other great transportation projects. He is no longer going to be with the transportation committee."

SRAM will support the campaign with $1.2 million spread over the three-year term. The funds will go toward giving advocacy groups tools and resources to secure increased funding from the existing federal transportation programs for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

"SRAM has been apart of the Advocacy Advance Initiative since the beginning," Cahill said. "Getting more people on bikes is something that a lot of people from the bike industry are passionate about. Not only is it good for business but also for the country as a whole to get people moving. Getting them out of their cars and on bikes is great for the environment, congestion and traffic issues and gets people healthier. There are a copious amount of reasons why a company like SRAM would want to back an initiative like this."

The Alliance of Biking and Walking recently awarded $103,000 in Advocacy Advance Initiative Grants to four local organisations that implemented strategic plans to increase biking and walking in their own region which could also be used in other regions across the nation. The four organisations were the Missouri Foundation for Bicycling and Walking, Livable Memphis Program, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the California Bicycle Coalition Education Fund.

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