$80m in US funds for bike projects unspent in Mass.

State ranks last, tapping 37% of grants since 1991

from The Boston Globe
By Alan Wirzbicki
April 14, 2009

WASHINGTON – Despite a recent declaration by Governor Deval Patrick that encouraging bicycling is a priority for his administration, Massachusetts ranks last in the nation among all states in requesting federal funds for bike lanes, rail-trails, and similar improvements and has failed to use more than $80 million set aside for the state.

Since 1991, the state has only spent about 37 percent of its share of the funding designated by Congress for such projects, a far lower rate than in any other state, according to federal statistics. By comparison, Connecticut and Rhode Island have spent 99 percent of their federal funding.

Massachusetts has been allocated $135 million for bike and pedestrian funding since 1991, and has used $51.1 million. Critics blame the gap on a cumbersome application process that requires cities and towns to pay for planning and engineering studies, submit applications to two state agencies, and then wait, sometimes for years.

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