B$Z: Congress Passes FAST Act: $4 Billion for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
The FAST Act is the first long-term transportation bill approved by Congress since 2004. It passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 359-65 and the Senate by a vote of 83-16. President Obama is expected to promptly sign the bill into law.
The FAST Act reauthorizes the principal program that enables cities to plan and build bike projects and is a great victory for the bicycle industry. Nationwide, bicycling generates $81 billion for the U.S. economy and supports more than 750,000 jobs. Across the country, there are 4,800 bicycle retailers, 1,895 bicycle suppliers and thousands of bike tourism-related operators—all businesses that will benefit from the passage of this bill.
“PeopleForBikes and the bicycle industry applaud Congress for their hard work and dedication to passing a long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation program,” said PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal. “This bill will support thousands of jobs and cost-effective bike projects that improve mobility, attract and retain businesses, and boost recreation and tourism."
Three amendments were proposed during the reauthorization process that would have cut major funding sources for bicycle projects. These amendments never made it to the floor, thanks in part to the response from PeopleForBikes supporters who sent thousands of letters to their members of Congress.
The FAST Act will help communities respond to the growing demand for bicycle projects and build cost-effective transportation. The demand for bicycling infrastructure is powered both by a growth in Americans who commute by bike or bike for short trips as well as by mayors, developers and businesses nationwide.
“PeopleForBikes has worked diligently with Congress to highlight the importance of the transportation program to the bicycle industry,” Blumenthal said. “Hundreds of meetings and phone calls, tens of thousands of letters and eight executive fly-ins to Washington, D.C. have all contributed to this win for bicycling.”