You can ask lawmakers to eliminate 20% local match requirement for walk/bike infra

Photo via I Am Traffic.
Photo via I Am Traffic.

Back in February, Streetsblog covered a new bill in the Illinois Legislature that would help level the funding playing field for biking and walking infrastructure. Happily, that bill has passed the House and is now under consideration in the Senate. As with the House bill, community members can voice their support, but must take action by this Tuesday afternoon.

Currently, the cost of rebuilding car and truck infrastructure on a state road is covered in full by the state. But one-fifth of the cost of accommodations for people walking and biking – like sidewalks, side paths and bike lanes—must be covered by local communities. As Streetsblog editor John Greenfield pointed out, this rule not only prioritizes driving, but worsens inequities between walkable and bikeable communities, deepening the divide between wealthier areas that can allocate funding for the 20 percent match, and communities with tighter budgets that may not be able to afford pedestrian and bike facilities.

The tragic effects of America’s failure to provide safe walking and biking infrastructure can be seen in the troubling rise of  pedestrian fatalities nationally – up 46 percent nationally from 2010. There are also demographic disparities, with a disproportionate number of the victims being older adults; Black, Native American, and Alaska Native individuals; and people walking in low-income areas.

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Senate Bill 1768, sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt, would eliminate 20-percent match communities are currently required to pay for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads. The bill is scheduled to come before the Senate Transportation Committee this Tuesday, April 13 at 3:30pm. Learn more about the bill in this one-page summary from Active Transportation Alliance.

How to get involved

You can voice your support for the legislation by filling out a witness slip online by this Tuesday, April 13. Anyone living in the state of Illinois can fill out a witness slip. Here are a few tips on how to do so:

  • Identification: If you are representing an organization as an employee, include the name in the “firm/business” field. If you are not representing an organization as an employee, add “self.“
  • Representation: If you are representing a group, organization, or business, also add the name here. Make sure you have permission to do this! Otherwise, type “self” or “n/a.”
  • Position: If you support the bill, select “proponent.”
  • Testimony: Choose “record of appearance only,” agree to the terms, and then click “create slip.”
  • Confirmation: Once your witness slip is submitted, you’ll see a confirmation message and receive an email.

Click here to fill out a witness slip.