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The Micromobility Coalition Outlines Transportation Priorities to Congress

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WASHINGTON – The Micromobility Coalition is calling on congressional leaders to include policy reforms to support micromobility transit options in the reauthorization of “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.” Specifically, the group urges Congress to provide sufficient funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and ensure HTF-financed investments provide support for light electric vehicles.

“Micromobility will continue to grow and play an increasingly important role in transportation networks across the country,” the letter stated. “Cities are already working to incorporate micromobility ridership by reevaluating how local systems, safety design plans, and infrastructure, such as bike lanes and multi-use paths, can help to maximize micromobility’s benefits. Federal policies should support development and deployment of these vehicles and provide funding for infrastructure that supports micromobility services in municipalities, so that Americans can continue to benefit from this mode of personal transportation.”

Micromobility — the use of dockless bikes, electric bikes (e-bikes), and electric scooters (e-scooters), as well as shared station-based bikes — is revolutionizing personal transportation in America. Demand for micromobility services, particularly for e-scooters, has skyrocketed in cities across the country due to their affordability and convenience. In 2018 alone, 84 million trips were taken on shared micromobility services, with 38.5 million of those trips taken on shared e-scooters. With continued growth in popularity, e-scooter and e-bike commuters increasingly realize the many benefits of micromobility, including how these devices reduce car trips, alleviate local pollution, and increase access to public transit.

The letter was sent to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Committees on Banking, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment & Public Works; and Finance. Copies were also sent to the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Ways and Means.

The full text of the letter to the Senate is below:

Dear Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper:

Micromobility – the use of dockless bikes, electric bikes (e-bikes), and electric scooters (e-scooters), as well as shared station-based bikes – is revolutionizing personal transportation in America. Due to their convenience and affordability, demand for micromobility services, particularly for e-scooters, has skyrocketed in cities across the country. In 2018 alone, 84 million trips were taken on shared micromobility services, with 38.5 million of those trips taken on shared e-scooters.  Further, e-scooters and e-bikes continue to grow in popularity as commuters increasingly realize their many benefits including how these devices reduce car trips, alleviate local pollution, and increase access to public transit.

Micromobility will continue to grow and play an increasingly important role in transportation networks across the country. Cities are already working to incorporate micromobility ridership by reevaluating how local systems, safety design plans, and infrastructure, such as bike lanes and multi-use paths, can help to maximize micromobility’s benefits. Federal policies should support development and deployment of these vehicles and provide funding for infrastructure that supports micromobility services in municipalities so that Americans can continue to benefit from this mode of personal transportation.

As the committee considers priorities for the reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, we encourage you to consider the inclusion of policy reforms to support micromobility transit options. This includes providing sufficient funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and ensuring that HTF-financed investments provide support for light electric vehicles.

Specifically, we request the committee consider the following recommendations:

Micromobility Policies and Definitions

  • Reinstate the employer fringe benefit for bicycle commuting and expand benefit eligibility to include micromobility options like dockless e-bikes and e-scooters in a manner consistent with the provisions included in the Bicycle Commuter Act, H.R.1507.
  • Establish a federal definition for e-scooters for purposes of broad-based program eligibility, including consideration for e-scooter weight, presence of an electric motor, and maximum speed. Specifically, an electric scooter should be defined as:
  • A mobility device weighing less than 100 pounds that (i) has handlebars and an electric motor, (ii) is solely powered by the electric motor and/or propelled by manual power, (iii) has a maximum speed of no more than 20 miles per hour on a paved, level surface when powered solely by the electric motor, and (iv) could not be otherwise considered an electric bicycle, motorcycle, or moped.
  • Create and incentivize local pilot programs to integrate micromobility into existing transit systems through inclusion in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand Program, including incorporation of micromobility trips into program reimbursement formulas.
  • Instruct the Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office to provide a report outlining strategic recommendations for micromobility deployment.
  • Include policy direction for the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Research and Technology and the FTA to support ongoing research efforts for micromobility deployment.
  • Establish best practices and technical guidance for local Complete Streets policy implementation to promote safe use of shared space for micromobility users, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Investments in Micromobility-Friendly Infrastructure

  • Expand eligibility for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants to include projects designed to support electric charging infrastructure, alternative-fuel vehicle infrastructure, and micromobility deployment, and increase authorized funding levels in order to provide adequate resources for those projects.
  • Expand eligibility for the FTA’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Program and Capital Investment Grants (CIG) to include projects and research that support micromobility deployment and electric charging infrastructure.
  • Reauthorize the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program for five years with flexible funding to support and supplement local investments in projects to improve conditions for pedestrian bike infrastructure and micromobility.
  • Reauthorize the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program for five years and allow unused funds to be applied to projects supporting deployment of new technologies like micromobility that cut local pollution by replacing car trips and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Using electric transportation such as e-bikes and e-scooters offsets local pollution by particulate matter from cars, trucks, and buses, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities in urban areas.
  • Expand the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to increase eligibility for clean energy electric charging infrastructure and encourage the deployment of electric micromobility options.

In general, when looking to develop new strategies for modernizing our nation’s transportation system, Congress should also:

  • Consider how existing infrastructure should be used to accommodate and incorporate on-demand transportation options like micromobility. In particular, improving curb space and shared space management to incorporate the increased use of micromobility and supporting ongoing multimodal personal transportation choices.
  • Encourage policies that promote complete streets in city planning processes and provide funding incentives for plans that incorporate multimodal use, including the development of better bike lanes.
  • Promote transit-oriented development programs and integrate micromobility reporting into the National Transit Database to ensure that micromobility’s contributions to public transit systems are accurately reported and rewarded.

We look forward to continuing this vital conversation on ways to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure and increase personal transportation options like micromobility.

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