BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bike ped funding

Speak up for Bike Commuting!

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.

Bike Funding Update – 2 votes short

The following email from the League of American Bicyclists arrived in my inbox yesterday afternoon (seemingly addressed to those who sent an email to Congress) about the latest on the bike/walk amendment:

You have probably heard that the Petri/Johnson/Lipinski amendment to restore dedicated funding for bicycling and walking lost narrowly by just two votes in this morning’s Transportation Committee meeting in the House of Representatives. The bi-partisan amendment and vote took place against the backdrop of a very partisan and rancorous mark-up of the legislation – the two Republican sponsors of the bike/walk amendment, Reps. Petri and Johnson, deserve a huge “thank you” for taking on this challenge on behalf of the cycling and walking community.

You also deserve a huge “thank you”. The League’s on-line advocacy center reported yours was one of more than 18,000 e-mails sent to Members of Congress on this issue – a stunning number, and surely part of the reason we were able to put up such a good fight today. We are meeting this evening with our colleagues in the America Bikes coalition to determine our next steps, greatly heartened by your incredible support. If nothing else, today’s vote has shown the leadership of the House and committee chairman Mica that we are a force with which to be reckoned.

Notwithstanding other developments, we expect the transportation bill will be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives very soon: February 13th. As soon as we have decided our strategy for this next critical phase, we’ll be in touch again. Meanwhile, you can check the League’s website, or America Bikes for more information; and please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.

As you can see, more debating ensues on the House floor early next week, so there may very well be more calls to action from the League and/or your local bike advocacy group in the coming days.

From BikeCommuters.com, thank you for taking action with us.

Bike/Ped Funding in trouble…again

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.