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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.

New Bicycle-Friendly Universities Announced

The League of American Bicyclists unveiled a new list of winners in their “Bicycle Friendly Universities” campaign. From the press release:

The League of American Bicyclists is announcing six new Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU) today at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. “We are pleased to see that so many of our great higher education institutions – large and small – are stepping up to meet the challenges of sustainability, safety and health, and they are doing so with the help of the Bicycle Friendly Universities program,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League. “College campuses across the country are offering students and faculty a higher quality of life as a result.” The BFU program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors. The six new BFUs complete a successful inaugural year for the BFU program. There are now 26 BFUs in 20 states that are encouraging students and staff to travel to and on their campuses on bicycles.

The six new winners are:

Chatham University
George Mason University
Ohio State University
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of North Carolina Wilmington
University of Vermont

To read more about the BFU program, please visit the League’s information page. And, for a complete list of recipients (currently 26 colleges and universities), take a look at the PDF list on the League’s site.

Congratulations to all the new recipients! College campuses were made for bicycles…easing congestion, providing a healthy way to get around, and avoiding the hunt for elusive (and expensive) parking spots.