Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The TIGER Sleeps Tonight

As reported in The Bike-sharing Blog last summer with "The TIGER Roars in Washington, D.C.", municipalities from across the 5-million resident D.C. region had come together to support a U.S. Department of Transportation "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery" (TIGER) stimulus funding request for $11M for a greatly expanded regional bike-sharing service. (In fact, of the region's transit funding requests, bike-sharing was the 2nd priority, right after bus rapid transit infrastructure improvements.) The funding would have provided for the capital cost of 3,000 bikes in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Each participating jurisdiction would have funded the operating cost for their share of the bikes.

Today, TIGER grant awards were announced and the region's request for bike-sharing was not supported. I'm saddened that the Federal government didn't see the wisdom of supporting what would become the U.S.'s and North America's largest bike-sharing service and all of the health, livability, and environmental benefits the application offered.

All is not lost, however. The process of applying for the Federal grant brought together many parties, including elected officials and transport staff, from around the region who had not previously discussed bike-sharing. With much change happening in the D.C. area regarding planned expansion of a bike-sharing service, the right folks from across the region are now sitting around the table to discuss how bike-sharing can best fit into their communities and fund it. This is a minor setback which will require greater creativity to make the region's bike-sharing service the success that it will become.

Stay tuned, bike-sharers.

image: Digital Journal

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