Why aren’t we investing more in non-road transportation?

Houston Tomorrow has some disturbing news.

A proposal to limit bike, pedestrian, and livability funding in the 2011 Transportation Improvement Program will come before the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council (TPC) this Friday, February 25, at a public meeting in the H-GAC building at 3555 Timmons on the 2nd floor in Conference Room A.

The proposal calls for increasing road and freight spending while limiting projects that would improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, transit access, livable centers studies, and other projects listed as “Alternative Modes.”  Particular projects to be eliminated from the TIP are not yet determined, but all proposed projects are presumably listed in the Preliminary Project Scoping (pdf) provided by H-GAC.  Projects to be cut would include things like walkability projects in Midtown and a pedestrian realm project to provide better sidewalks and neighborhood access to light rail along the future East End Light Rail Line.

The proposal for shifting spending in the TIP does not appear to match the objectives or spending targets of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan.  Further, the code of federal regulations governing the RTP and TIP process mandates public involvement both early and continuously in key decisions in the programming process, but no such opportunity seems to have been presented to the public on this proposal.

Sections of the Houston Area Survey on transportation priorities and spending priorities to better plan for growth indicate that the priorities of residents of the Houston region are not aligned with the proposed changes to the 2011 TIP.

Bike Houston is organizing local opposition to this plan as well as other groups expected to publicly oppose the changes over the coming days.

I don’t see how this makes any sense, and for it to happen with so little fanfare is just wrong. I realize that we’re all up to our necks in action items and things to fight back against these days, but take a moment to look at Bike Houston‘s writeup of what this means, and consider joining in the call to rethink this. Hair Balls has more.

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