Tennessee cycling leader pedals for local transit options

A cyclist rides outside of the bicycle lane on Broad Street on Friday, May 6, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Leaders of a statewide bicycling and pedestrian advocacy group are breathing easier this legislative session, following a long battle in 2016 over a bill pushed by two area lawmakers that could have impacted state funding for bicycle projects.

They are not putting the kickstand down on issues relating to state politics, however.

BikeWalk Tennessee president Anthony Siracusa voiced support for Gov. Bill Haslam's proposed gas tax increase while speaking to a group of Chattanooga cyclists on Thursday night, specifically praising a portion of the proposal that would allow municipalities to hold referendums on local tax increases for transit projects in their communities.

"It's a very important part of this legislation," Siracusa told the group gathered at the Daily Ration in North Chattanooga. "Improving transit in our cities has a direct relationship to growing the number of people who walk and bike and, most importantly, it allows us to assist people with their personal mobility, which then helps them with their social mobility.