Lawmakers to states: Make room on roads for bikes, pedestrians

Matsui said states could change that by adopting "Complete Streets" programs, which the bill would force them to do within two years.

"Complete Streets policies have been a major success at the local and state level, saving lives, easing congestion, fighting air pollution and creating forward-looking projects that provide lasting value,” she said.

Joyce added that the bill would improve safety on roads for senior citizens and children.

“It’s important we take steps to improve safety in our communities and this bill is a step in the right direction," he said.

The measure comes as lawmakers on the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee moved this week to slash funding for community development and public transit funding.

The Appropriations Committee's transportation and housing subcommittee approved its 2014 spending bill Wednesday at a level of $44.1 billion, a cut of $7 billion from last year. The funding level was also a cut of more than $4 billion from the current sequester level.

House Republicans also fought the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian funding in the $109 billion surface transportation bill that was passed last year.

They argued that appropriators had to focus on roads, and to a lesser extent transit, in times of austerity.