Feds offer millions in grants for bicyclist and pedestrian connectivity and safety

Bicyclists in San Francisco
Mark Prado

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) this week announced it has opened applications for up to $44.5 million in funding for projects that will strengthen safety and improve bicycling, walking and access to public transit in communities across the country.

FHWA’s new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP), made possible by President Joe Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, is a competitive grant program that will focus on building networks of connected bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, including to better connect trail networks between communities. 

“The Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program will support projects that enable people to walk, bike, and roll safely and conveniently to school, work, transit, health care facilities, and other destinations,”  U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program will help communities provide safe, healthy, sustainable, equitable and enjoyable transportation options for all with networks of connected trails.”

Active transportation mobility options are those powered primarily by human energy, such as bicycling and walking, and provide positive health impacts. As part of the program, FHWA will award competitive grants to help communities plan, design, or construct safe and connected active transportation networks such as sidewalks, bikeways, and trails that connect destinations such as schools, workplaces, residences, businesses, recreation areas and medical facilities within a community or metropolitan region. Grants will also be provided for projects used for trails, pedestrian facilities, bikeways and other routes that serve as backbones to connect two or more communities, metropolitan regions or states.

The funding is available for states, local and Tribal governments, as well as metropolitan and regional planning organizations, and applicants can apply for more than one grant.  

“The safety of vulnerable road users is of utmost importance,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said. “The funding we’re making available today will help improve connectivity and address barriers to safe, accessible and equitable pedestrian and bicycle networks, especially in disadvantaged communities and those where many people rely on public transportation.”

This new grant program directly supports the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, which calls for safe active transportation networks in communities that enable fewer and shorter car trips. In addition to decarbonization, these investments will also improve local air quality and overall community health.

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