Tell Your State Officials that You Want More Bike/Ped Funding!

When the national percentage of biking and walking trips is 12%, the percentage of fatalities is 14% and the percentage of federal funding is 1.6%, there is something clearly wrong. As your statewide advocates, we are petitioning South Carolina leaders for equity in transportation funding in this state.

We want our representatives and decision makers to recognize the importance and benefits of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and to ensure that these projects get a proportional share of funding. As part of our work in the interests of you, our membership and constituents, we have drafted a letter that can be sent to your representatives. We have already sent it to numerous state officials, including the transportation secretary, governor, lieutenant governor and all seven SCDOT commissioners. In the letter, we asked for more bike facility funding and a proportional share of the pie. We hope you will join us in contacting your elected officials and adding your voice to the call for better bicycling in South Carolina!

The full text of the letter is below, but feel free to add any personal sentiments or experiences. Please contact us if you have and questions regarding the letter, its message or who should receive it.

[your elected official’s name]:
Funding for bike facilities represents a tiny slice of overall transportation funding, yet national surveys indicate high levels of support for such investments.  Citizens see bike facilities as a transportation cost saver.  When a young family sells 1 of their 2 cars and purchases 2 commuter bikes, they save ~$8000/year on personal transportation costs.  Their return is a higher quality of life and better public health, especially with respect to obesity and its attendant chronic illnesses. 
This move saves money.  A mile of bike lane is cheaper per mode user than a mile of highway.  Yet the cost of building roads for the public is much less than the costs incurred by the individual.  If someone says we can’t afford to fund bike lanes, ask them if we can afford to ignore the high costs of personal car ownership.  2% of our income is taxed to fund transportation facilities, yet individuals spend 16% of their earned incomes on owning automobiles.  You can make a big difference. 
Bicycle friendly states and communities enjoy higher quality of life and sustained real estate values.  South Carolina still struggles with the aftermath of the housing market crash, our urban populations are growing, and public health data shows a state with a crisis of inactivity and obesity. Now is the time for a state-level commitment to create opportunities for active transportation.  Here is what the Palmetto Cycling Coalition requests from the state’s transportation body:
  • Fully award and obligate remaining funds from the Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Fully fund, staff, and implement the new Transportation Alternatives program, which replaces the Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School programs:
    • Continue to fully staff DOT positions that work specifically on bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including the Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, the Safe Routes to School Coordinator, and the Transportation Enhancements Coordinator.
  • In keeping with the spirit of SCDOT’s Complete Streets resolution, fully maximize our investments in safe, accessible streets by utilizing all MAP-21 funding programs — including the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds, and the Surface Transportation Program — to include safe bicycling and walking facilities in all transportation projects. 
I hope you will give careful consideration to our request.  A 2012 report ranked our state as 49thin the nation for bicyclist safety, and a combination of bike facility funding and education solves that.  Investing in a bicycle friendly South Carolina provides a safer transportation alternative, fosters economic growth, and is getting more popular every day. 
I sincerely thank you for your time and attention to this email and to our requests regarding MAP-21 and bicycle project funding in South Carolina. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues in person or by phone.
[your name]
Posted in


Comments are closed.