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Transportation bill amended to keep pedestrian, bicycle funding alive and local

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An amendment has been made to address concerns that the Senate’s transportation bill threatened funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs.

Named for sponsors Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the amendment ensures that 2 percent of the transportation budget is set aside for such programs, as celebrated in Chicago Now.

According to D.C. Streets, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has included “much” of the Cardin-Cochran amendment in his own “manager’s mark” for the bill. It also allows local government direct access to that money, as opposed to giving the state power to delegate the funds.

“States usually focus on building larger projects, but those projects often need further refinements within those communities in order to function well,” argued Transportation For America in support. “The amendment would give local elected leaders — who know the transportation and safety needs of their constituents best — more direct control over how to spend those funds and allow them to revitalize their communities while building out the full transportation network they need.”

This all hinges on the bill and amendment passing, of course. It could face a cloture vote as soon as Tuesday.