PA 09-154—sSB 735

Transportation Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT IMPROVING BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS

SUMMARY: This act:

1. requires, beginning October 1, 2010, a minimum of 1% of the total funds received in any fiscal year by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and any municipality for construction, restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation of any highway or street to be spent to provide facilities for “all users,” including bikeways and sidewalks with curb cuts or ramps;

2. establishes an 11-member Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board to report to the governor, transportation commissioner, and the Transportation Committee on actions, policies, and procedures that improve the bicycling and walking environment in Connecticut; and

3. requires the transportation commissioner to report, this year and next, to the Transportation Committee and the advisory board with a list of transportation projects he has undertaken that contain bicycle and pedestrian access.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

MANDATORY EXPENDITURES

The act requires a reasonable amount of any funds received by the DOT or any municipality for construction, restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation of roads to be spent for facilities for “all users,” including bikeways and sidewalks with curb cuts and ramps. Beginning October 1, 2010, this must be at least 1% of the total funds received in any fiscal year. The act also requires DOT and every municipality to take “future transit expansion plans” into account where appropriate. These provisions do not apply in the event of a state or municipal transportation emergency.

The act defines “funds” as any funds from the Special Transportation Fund, bond allocations, and any other source available for road construction, maintenance, and repair. This appears to include virtually any funds the state or municipalities appropriate or bond for roads. It includes federal funds and, in the case of municipalities, state town road aid grants and funding from the Local Capital Improvement Program (LoCIP). The act defines “user” as a motorist, transit user, pedestrian, or bicyclist.

The act requires accommodations for all users to be a routine part of the planning, design, construction, and operating activities of all highways in the state.

Provision of facilities for all users is not required if the DOT commissioner or a municipality's legislative body determines with respect to a highway, road, or street that (1) non-motorized usage is prohibited; (2) there is no need; (3) the accommodation of all users would be an excessively expensive component of the total project cost; or (4) the accommodation of all users is inconsistent with the state's or municipality's construction, maintenance, and repair program. (A subsequent act makes the provision requiring routine accommodation for all users in planning, designing, constructing, and operating all highways subject to this same set of exceptional circumstances under which routine accommodation would not have to be made—see BACKGROUND).

ADVISORY BOARD

Membership

The act establishes the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and places it within the DOT for administrative purposes only. Five members must be appointed by the governor with the other six members appointed, one each, by the House speaker, Senate president, House and Senate majority leaders, and House and Senate minority leaders. All members must be state electors and have a background and interest in issues pertaining to walking and bicycling. One member must be at least age 60, and one member must represent each of the following constituencies:

1. an organization interested in promoting bicycling,

2. an organization interested in promoting walking,

3. an owner or manager of a business engaged in bicycle sales or repair,

4. visually-impaired persons,

5. mobility-impaired persons, and

6. transit workers.

The act does not specify which of the appointing authorities is responsible for appointing the members from the special constituencies.

Members serve four-year terms, except that, of the governor's initial five appointees, three must serve for two years and two for three years. Vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority for the unexpired term. All members must serve without compensation.

The members must select a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary at the first meeting and annually thereafter. The board must meet at least once each calendar quarter and any other time the chairperson deems necessary or if a majority of members requests a meeting.

Duties and Responsibilities

The act specifies that the board's duties include (1) examining the need for bicycle and pedestrian transportation; (2) promoting programs and facilities for bicycles and pedestrians; and (3) advising appropriate state agencies on policies, programs, and facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. The board may also apply for and accept grants, gifts, and bequests from other states; federal and interstate agencies; independent authorities; and private firms, individuals, and foundations.

The act requires DOT to assist the board by making available DOT reports and records related to the board's responsibilities and, within available appropriations, printing and distributing its annual report, and mailing meeting notices.

Advisory Board Annual Report

By January 15, 2010, and annually thereafter, the board must submit a report to the governor, DOT commissioner, and the Transportation Committee. The report must include (1) progress made by state agencies in improving the environment for bicycling and walking in Connecticut, (2) recommendations for improving state policies and procedures related to bicycling and walking, and (3) actions taken by DOT in the preceding year that affect the bicycle and walking environment.

DOT REPORT

By October 1, 2009, and again by October 1, 2010, the act requires the transportation commissioner to report to the Transportation Committee and advisory board with a list of state- or federally-funded projects that have been undertaken that contain bicycle and pedestrian access. The act explicitly includes any federally-funded projects under the Interstate Maintenance, National Highway Safety, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, and Transportation Enhancement programs, but does not exclude other federal transportation programs.

The list must include the project title, scope, funding source, description, cost of the bicycle or pedestrian component, and estimated completion time.

BACKGROUND

Related Act

PA 09-186 ( 55) makes the provision of this act requiring routine accommodation for all users in planning, designing, constructing, and operating all highways subject to the same set of exceptional circumstances under which provision of such facilities would not have to be made.

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