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Transportation for America let us know today that the U.S. Senate will be voting today (Mar 6th) at noon on the revised two-year transportation bill. This bill is not perfect, but it’s by far the best we’ve seen discussed this year. Please contact your Senator in support of this version of the bill!
The bill contains three key amendments:
1) Cardin-Cochran – Allows local-level government to compete for grants for things such as bike-pedestrian improvements. Projects such as Safe Routes to School would be eligible for this money.
2) Franken-Blunt – Allows states to use Highway Bridge Program funds to repair non-federal highway bridges. Why do we care? Many of these bridges are ones cyclists use – or could use if they were repaired.
3) Landrieu-Murray – Prevents municipalities from having their transportation funds taken away if the state doesn’t meet transportation goals. This means bike-ped and other local projects won’t be hurt just because a state DOT didn’t fix enough bridges – and also allows better municipal planning because of increased funding certainty.
T4America has set up a contact page to help you contact your senator. This is especially important if you have a Republican senator. While several have helped craft the bill and the amendments listed above, there is likely to be pressure on others to vote against it (for a variety of reasons). Your support could help turn the tide and get some key votes. If this does not pass, the likelihood of anything but highway funds in the transportation bill gets a lot smaller, even as statistics show we’re driving less.
Let’s tell our Senators we want a bill that serves the future, not the past.