From 1994-2003 the state of Tennessee received $168 million is transportation enhancements funding. Of those funds $121 million or 72% of the funds served bicycle and pedestrian improvements. During that same period the state of Kentucky received $132 million in TE funding and we spent $25 million on bicycle and pedestrian improvements or 18.9% of the total funds. Why the discrepancy? Why has Tennessee put a vastly greater emphasis on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? You might wonder how that squares with the national trend in TE funding. For FY 2004 the US will spend $290 million in TE funds. Of that 68% will go for bike/ped and rail/trail projects. Since we are one of the nation’s leaders in obesity and diabetes, wouldn’t you think we would be more committed to giving Kentuckians a way to exercise?
Note: Since this was written for a newsletter in 2005 Kentucky has raised its level of trail funding considerably. Let’s hope it continues.