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It seems like every couple of weeks over the past year, some of our elected officials decide to tinker with things and put bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure funding in jeopardy. The League of American Bicyclists is sounding the alarm again about today’s announcement of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, introduced by John Mica (R-FL). As the LAB states in their email to us:
The proposed bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycling and walking as we feared, and it goes much further and systematically removes bicycling from the Federal transportation program. It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system — a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It’s a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.
The bill reverses 20 years of progress by:
- destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional;
- repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;
- allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;
- eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and
- eliminating language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will mark-up the bill and Representatives Petri (R-WI) and Johnson (R-IL) will sponsor an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Representatives Petri and Johnson can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts their representative today.
The LAB has created a handy letter and contact tool so you can voice your concerns with your representative(s). Simply click on the Capwiz link, enter your zipcode and the system generates an editable letter for you.
Make your voice be heard…while we understand that the Federal Government cannot be expected to pay for everything, and that the states should be responsible for the bulk of bike/ped infrastructure, this proposed Act sets a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes decades of progress.