Orange County

Congressman hopes to keep wheels turning on national cycling infrastructure funding

A pack of cyclists fill the road in Carrboro on Saturday morning in this 2005 file photo. Cycling has become a big business in the United States and in North Carolina, where 35 bike equipment manufacturers and 229 bike retailers do business. Congressman David Price visited Performance Bicycle in Chapel Hill this week to talk about that economic impact and express his support for continued federal funding for bike infrastructure projects.
A pack of cyclists fill the road in Carrboro on Saturday morning in this 2005 file photo. Cycling has become a big business in the United States and in North Carolina, where 35 bike equipment manufacturers and 229 bike retailers do business. Congressman David Price visited Performance Bicycle in Chapel Hill this week to talk about that economic impact and express his support for continued federal funding for bike infrastructure projects. File photo

Bicycles have an $88 billion economic impact on the nation and keep many North Carolinians working, U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said during a recent stop in Orange County.

The stop was part of a monthlong PeopleForBikes tour of 16 bike industry companies and retailers in nine states.

“The PeopleForBikes Summer Campaign highlights the impact that federal infrastructure investment programs have in providing for alternate modes of transportation that can enhance the quality of life in a community,” said Price, who represents the 4th District.

“As the top Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for federal infrastructure investment, and as a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus, I am proud to be a part of these efforts and will continue fighting for programs that enhance the cycling experience,” he added.

David Price
David Price

Performance Bicycle is a national retail chain that employs 200 people at the company’s Chapel Hill headquarters. Another 2,000 employees work for the company’s online store or at its more than 100 shops nationwide.

North Carolina is home to a total of 35 bike equipment manufacturers, 229 bike retailers and 44,203 PeopleForBikes members, the group noted.

“The bike industry, including North Carolina's own Performance Bicycle, sees business grow when there is continued investment in places for bikes,” said Chris London, community relations manager for Performance Bicycle. “It was an honor to host Representative Price, and we thank him for working with us to ensure federal funding for bike infrastructure is protected.”

The federal Transportation Alternatives Program, created by the FAST Act in 2015, is the largest source of federal funding for bicycle infrastructure, providing $4 billion in bike and pedestrian infrastructure investments over five years. Price backed TAP and the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which also funds large, multimodal transportation projects that include bike paths and lanes.

President Donald Trump’s budget released earlier this year proposed eliminating the TIGER program. However, there is bipartisan support in Congress for continuing those projects, PeopleForBikes officials said.

The group is holding its tour during August which is when Congress traditionally breaks for the summer.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

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