House Bill 1650 would ban the Tennessee Department of Transportation from using revenue from the gas tax revenue for pedestrian, bicycle and non-vehicular facilities.
Since 100 percent of TDOT funding comes from the state and federal gas tax, the department wouldn’t have a way to pay for crosswalks, sidewalks and crosswalks.
Nora Kern, the executive director of Walk Bike Nashville, said the proposal would be devastating for Nashville and other Tennessee communities that are attempting to become more multimodal.
“It would make it harder to build greenways. It would make it harder to build sidewalks and safe crosswalks,” said Kern. “And it would make it harder to build the bike lanes that we really need to make sure our streets are safe for everybody.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter (R – Ooltewah), said he wanted to see more transparency in how gas tax revenue is spent.
Cyclists like Matthew Nemer worry about what the measure would mean for safety.
“I shouldn’t have any lesser right than a motorist on a road where I have every right to be,” Nemer said. “My safety should be included in the consideration of that.”
HB 1650 will be considered for approval at Transportation subcommittee on Feb. 24.