Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Federal Funding

Seven Jiu-Jitsu Moves for Advocates to Use MAP-21 to Their Own Advantage

OK, truth: Raise your hand if you find federal transportation legislation intimidating and incomprehensible.

false

I thought so. Me too.

The problem, as you know, is that it’s enormously important that advocates not only understand the new transportation law, MAP-21, but that they understand it in granular detail so they can find the small opportunities buried in a depressingly large mass of disappointment.

So a big thank-you goes out to the folks at Transportation for America, who just released exactly the resource advocates need: a guide to the law called “Making the Most of MAP-21.”

In addition to providing a basic outline of the law and its relevant provisions (and omissions), the document contains some excellent how-to’s and talking points for advocates and project sponsors trying to squeeze funding for sustainable transportation projects out of programs biased heavily toward auto-oriented infrastructure. Here are a few of the excellent ideas that stand out:

Ask states to flex highway funds for bridge repair. One major hidden peril of MAP-21 is that it transferred the responsibility of repairing 460,000 bridges, which aren’t on the National Highway System (NHS), to the overburdened Surface Transportation Program, without adding any money for it. In fact, STP has $5 billion of new responsibilities under MAP-21 and only $1 billion of new money.

false

Luckily, there’s a solution: States can flex up to half of their National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) funds, normally earmarked for NHS projects, to other uses. After all, NHS gets a disproportionate share of funding: “Although the NHS represents only five percent of all American roads, fully 58 percent of the highway program is committed to its upkeep,” the report says.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Small East Bronx Open Street Shows Big Potential

An open street on less than a block of Williamsbridge is one of just two in the entire East Bronx.

May 24, 2024

RIDE ON: E-Bikes are the Key to Sustainable Bike Share

E-bikes are “a big game changer for the shared bike industry," one expert said. Here's why.

May 24, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Confirmation Consternation Edition

Life's a riot with Adams vs. Adams. Plus more news.

May 24, 2024

‘Late’ Island Rail Road: LIRR On-Time Stats Obscure Rider Fury at Thousands of Blown Connections

Late trains leave riders little time to make connections scheduled as tight as 4 minutes apart.

May 24, 2024

Pickup Truck Driver Kills Cyclist in Sunset Park But is Not Charged

The driver was not charged, police said, even though the official narrative clearly indicates that he turned into the cyclist.

May 23, 2024
See all posts