WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Compromise Could Limit Access To Federal Transportation Money

Play associated audio

As congressional negotiators near a deal for a massive transportation bill, bicycling and pedestrian advocates say access to funding used by local governments to make streets safer may be eliminated as part of the final compact. 

A deal is expected to be announced as early as today on a two-year, $109 billion transportation funding measure for roadways, bridges, and mass transit projects. As part of the compromise aimed at giving state transportation agencies more control over federal dollars for larger projects, House Republicans are insisting that access to the 1 to 2 percent of the federal transportation funding typically used for projects like fixing dangerous intersections or building bike lanes is cut.

"It’s important to have local control over some transportation funds so that local officials who know their streets can make the best decisions over safety improvements," said Barbara McCann, the executive director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

If congressional negotiators reach a deal today, advocates say they probably won’t know until Thursday if the local access survived. Although House Republicans sought to eliminate it, a bipartisan compromise was struck in the Senate to keep the program in place, co-authored by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin.

"It is really a mystery as to why [Congress] targeted this small amount of money that really saves lives," McCann said.

Bicycle riders and pedestrians represent 14 percent of roadway fatalities, and two-thirds of these deaths occurred on highways built by federal dollars, according to America Bikes. Advocates say this abysmal safety record could worsen if local governments are prevented from using federal transportation money for sidewalks, curb cuts for wheelchairs, bike lanes and other safety measures.

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Scotch Whiskey Gets A Run For Its Money From Global Distillers

A Canadian company recently was named whiskey of the year — knocking Scotch brands from the top-five category. In the U.S., there's been a massive increase in single malts in particular.

Capitol Hill Lawmakers Find Living At The Office Makes Sense, Saves Cents

Three office buildings on the House side of the U.S. Capitol serve as offices, and by night as lawmakers' apartments. Dozens of lawmakers choose to sleep in the office when Congress is in session.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.