Bicycle facilities grants advance

March 30, 2011 

JUNEAU -- A bill establishing a grant program for bicycle use was moved out of the Alaska House Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

Sponsored by Republican Representative Paul Seaton of Homer, the bill establishes a grant program for municipalities to purchase, maintain and offer facilities for people who want to commute by bicycle.

The bill also would offer grants for bicycle safety and education programs.

Seaton says innovations like studded tires, fenders and trailers to carry groceries and work supplies have made bicycle commuting a viable option even during Alaska's icy winters.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses opposed the measure, saying in a letter that the grant program would allow municipalities to circumvent small businesses that rent bicycles.

The House Finance Committee will consider House Bill 57 next.

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