Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Bike Caucus, introduced the Bikeshare Transit Act (H.R. 4343) this week, a bipartisan legislation that will provide local communitiesadditional flexibility to use federal funds for bikeshare programs. The introduction coincides with the City of Portland and Nike’s historic announcement about bikeshare in Portland.
Bikeshare is changing the way Americans move around urban areas, large and small, and driving economic development. Many programs received federal funding to launch but face unique uncertainty as a form of a public transportation. Because there is no established federal funding source, bikeshare is in a gray area – preventing some communities from using federal funds for bikeshare investments. The Bikeshare Transit Act clarifies that bikeshare projects are eligible for existing federal funding and defines bikeshare in federal transportation law, giving much-needed certainty to business owners, city and local officials, and commuters alike.
“America is in the middle of a bikeshare revolution. Removing barriers faced by new and existing bikeshare programs is important to providing choice and adding value to our existing transportation network,” said Representative Blumenauer.
“Bikeshare programs help people stay active, promote a clean environment and are good for the economy,” Representative Buchanan said. “I’m excited to join Congressman Blumenauer in supporting legislation that will make it easier for more of these programs to receive federal funding.”
“Bikeshare programs are helping communities large and small create new and needed transportation options while also improving local economies and quality of life,” said Carol Rhea, FAICP, President of American Planning Association. “Bikeshare has become a proven tool for building stronger, more vibrant, and more resilient communities. APA and the nation’s planners applaud the introduction of the bipartisan Bikeshare Transit Act. This legislation will make sure that federal policies and investments recognize what residents and cities already know: that bikeshare works.”
“The League of American Bicyclists thanks Representatives Blumenauer and Buchanan for introducing the Bikeshare Transit Act. More and more people in communities across the country are using bikeshare for transportation. This bill defines bikeshare as a form of transit, which will help make federal funding available for bikeshare systems across the country,” said Alex Doty, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists.
“Bikeshare is proving to be a cost-effective, quick-to-implement transportation solution in a growing number of U.S. cities,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of the national bike advocacy organization PeopleForBikes. “Many U.S. city bikeshare systems support thousands of rides each day that help reduce road congestion and air pollution while improving health. The best thing about bikeshare is that everyone benefits.”
“Creating a bikeshare system is like building new transit for a fraction of the cost,” said James Corless, Director of Transportation for America. “It gives people another way to get where they need to go quickly and affordably. Especially for communities underserved by transit, services like bikeshare can be a crucial connection to everyday destinations like job and school. Innovative, affordable, and flexible ideas like this make federal dollars go really far, and we commend Representatives Blumenauer and Buchanan’s bipartisan Bikeshare Transit Act.”
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