The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is planning to apply for a $10M TIGER II grant to expand bike sharing - which I am calling Butterbike until an official name is chosen - by 2000-3000 bicycles. That would be ON TOP of the 1110 bikes confirmed on Bike to Work Day and thus, could nearly triple the program. If the bike sharing is going to be "huge", this would be colossal.
The council’s Transportation Planning Board will discuss the proposal at a June 16 meeting and plans to make the July 16 pre-application deadline, said Ron Kirby, director of the council’s transportation planning.
TIGER II may be more competitive than TIGER was. There's less money, $540M, available for one thing (about 1/3 as much). And $140M of that is reserved for rural areas. So MWCOG is hoping to get 2.5% of the money available. But this round also requires a 20% match, so that may keep some jurisdictions away - it's cheap money, but not free money.
Bike League has some advice for applicants and notes that if grants are the same in size as they were in TIGER, that means only 18 projects will be funded.
Competitive applications should strongly fulfill the grant’s five primary criteria. They should help maintain a state of good repair, contribute to economic competitiveness (of the country overall) over the medium to long term, foster livability and increase transportation choice, help environmental sustainability, and improve safety. The DOT is also looking for projects that involve innovative strategies and build partnerships.
If this is the only project that MWCOG applies for, it would strengthen Butterbike's chances. I'm actually concerned that they have the manpower to site that many stations quickly. But it's a good problem to have.
At the Thanks to LaHood ride, there was a Bixi bike and I got to ride it. It's nice. Unlike SmartBike it feels like a normal bike. It rides really well. It has build in lights that you power as you ride. And, like me, it's sleek and sexy. Hopefully it won't have the sun bleaching problem that SmartBike has that makes the bikes look prematurely old. You can see a photo of Jeff Peel of LAB riding one above.