Funding to support safe and accessible bicycling, walking and public transportation infrastructure can be hard to come by.

Despite widespread public support for such investments, the portion of funds devoted to supporting transportation modes other than automobiles is exceedingly small. However, a great opportunity exists that can and should be explored: fees paid by cruise ships docking in the city of Charleston.

Existing port tariffs being paid to the State Ports Authority by the cruise ship industry include fees related to passenger parking ($17 per day), security ($5 per passenger) and other associated passenger charges ($20 for the first day), yet no per passenger fees are dedicated to supporting the infrastructure needed to provide safer walking, bicycling or public transit for the tens of thousands of passengers visiting the city each year.

A per-passenger fee (or a portion of an existing fee) to support transportation improvements in Charleston could greatly assist existing efforts to make Charleston a leader in safe walking and biking. Indeed, it could help improve overall connectivity and fill gaps in existing projects like the East Coast Greenway through the city.

Investing in such infrastructure is proven to improve health and safety and provide a richer tourism experience. Citizens and visitors need and deserve safer and more accessible bicycling and walking options.

The path to reducing auto congestion and parking demands, and improving air quality, doesn’t have to be hard. A fee supporting active transportation infrastructure improvements in the city should be a condition of the cruise terminal permit currently under review by the Army Corps of Engineers.

NILES BARNES

East Coast Greenway Alliance

Fayetteville Road

Durham, N.C.