Cardin's proposal, which he drafted with Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, would immediately distribute half the money to local governments based on population, which would give local officials power over how to spend it. The state would then allocate the rest through competitive grants.

Maryland cities and counties are not likely to receive more money than they did this year — in fact, advocates say the Senate bill would slightly cut the program.

Cardin's amendment faced little opposition and was included in a broader transportation bill expected to come up for a vote as soon as Tuesday . Its future is less certain in the Republican-controlled House, where leaders have abandoned a version of the transportation bill that made significant cuts to the enhancements program.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has indicated he may take up the Senate's bipartisan bill if lawmakers in his chamber don't craft their own version in coming weeks.

Several bikers said the agencies that oversee Baltimore's trails could use the money.

Rebekah Kuk, 30, biking recently along the Jones Falls east of Druid Hill Park, described the trail as "well kept" and "nicely landscaped," but said it would be more useful if it extended farther south into downtown Baltimore.

She also said the city should do more to promote it.

"They have to tell people about it," she said. "There's not the marketing to go with it."

Biking through the same spot, 28-year-old Kial Stewart said he uses the trail a couple of times a week to get from downtown to the Johns Hopkins University, where he is doing postdoctoral work. He said he'd use the trail every day if it were better maintained and extended farther south.

"This stretch of the trail, I guess it doesn't get much attention," said Stewart, motioning to the trail snaking along the Jones Falls south of 28th Street. "Even though it's sort of in a state of disrepair, it's so much nicer because you don't have to fight the traffic."

Bikes and trails

Here are some projects in Baltimore that could be funded with "transportation enhancement" money:

•Extend Jones Falls Trail from Cylburn Arboretum to Mount Washington light rail.

•Improve Herring Run Trail.

•Create downtown bicycle network.

•Fund citywide bicycle, pedestrian safety program.