Cyclists wary over transportation funding
Posted at: 09/14/2012 6:16 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Local bicyclists are worried they will lose state funding with a new federal tranportation measure, and the state said it's likely.
The measure is called MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, changing bicycling and walking incentives from "Recreational Trails" to "Transportation Alternatives."
The state said because road construction and incentives for cars takes precedence, trails for bikers and walkers could lose funding.
"So unless the local cycling community gets out there in force, and lets the state know that the federal funding needs to stay within the bicycling community and other transportation alternatives, we could be left with nothing," bicylce advocate Craig Degenhardt said.
The state said the new bill sets up performace measurements to follow when it comes to giving funding to cities and counties.
Mike McEntee of the Department of Transportation said money used to go to between 15 and 20 categories for transportation.
He said there are fewer categories, and bicycle and walking trails are not high on the priority list. Degenhardt said that's why it's important for cyclists and walkers to lobby for as much funding as possible. If not, they could be left with nothing at all.
"No more bridges over interstates or rivers. No more bike lanes or maintenance of bike lanes would be non-existent," he said.
Degenhardt is also worried that education for drivers to deal with cyclists and walkers on the road could be at risk, too.
Albuquerque's Parks and Recreation Department said there had been no word about cuts to driving education for cyclists, for now.
Degenhardt said the state and the nation should encourage more people to get on bikes, not the other way around.
"I'm a cyclist and a motorist, both," he said. "When I'm driving my car, I don't want a bunch of people there on the roads that could be on bikes, clogging up the traffic and making me late."
The Tour of the Rio Grande Valley is a cycling event in Albuquerque begins Saturday.
Degenhardt said events like it will be used to get word out to cyclists to encourage their local legislators to lobby for cyclist and walker funding.