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.
Here’s a roundup of various bike-related things clogging up my inbox…what better way to clear that out than to share them with you?
First off, the United States Postal Service announced that they will be printing “Bicycle Forever” stamps in 2012.
“We are excited to promote one the nation’s most popular outdoor activities with the issuance of these four Bicycling stamps,” added [Stamp Services manager Stephen] Kearny. “These days, increasing numbers of Americans ride bikes to work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than to drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.”
Going to Interbike this year? Some of the staffers at Bikecommuters.com/Mtnbikeriders.com are…and when we do, we’re going to get a chance to ride on Circulus, which Vince wrote about last week. From the Interbike press release:
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – July 26, 2011 – Celebrating urban, fixed and track bike culture, Interbike is installing Portland Design Works’ Circulus, a 132-foot circumference (40.2m), 45-degree wooden mini-velodrome inside the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Sponsored by Paved magazine, Yakima, All-City Cycles and Portland Design Works (PDW), Circulus will be the site of multiple events at the Interbike Expo in Las Vegas September 14-16.
Circulus will be setup next to the Urban Lounge, home of the Interbike City Style Fashion Show, and The Pub, a new beer garden and bar located on the show’s street level expo space. Show attendees will be able to hang out, ride All-City Cycles bikes on the track and compete in events on the first and second days of the show, including the PDW/Paved Pro-Am Classic at Circulus.
“Circulus will add something completely new and unique to this year’s show,” said Interbike Brand and Communications Director Rich Kelly. “We’re placing a big emphasis on urban cycling and the brands that support it and having Circulus there will be a big draw for that segment of the market. And, of course, I can’t wait to take a spin on it myself.”
Normally housed at PDW’s headquarters, Circulus will be dismantled, transported to Las Vegas and reassembled for the 30th edition of the bicycle industry’s annual trade show.
“Over the years, we’ve watched urban cycling grow to be on par with any other segment of cycling. We love that, and believe the universal appeal of Circulus is a reflection of the passion and vibrant growth of urban cycling,” said PDW Co-Founder Dan Powell. “We can’t wait for folks to hop on and turn some hot laps on the show floor.”
The circular track was originally conceived and built by Claremont, Calif. Pomona College art student Samuel Starr as part of his 2010 senior thesis. Circulus was later purchased by PDW and all 39 sections of the track were shipped to the company’s Oregon warehouse where it was reassembled.
“Since I first heard about Circulus, I knew Paved magazine had to be involved in some way,” said Paved Editor Joe Parkin. “Circulus combines design and a passion for bikes, but with a light-hearted demeanor – kind of like what we try to do with Paved. I can’t wait to see peoples’ reactions to the events at Interbike.”
Next up, I got a press release from Transportation For America that has been making the rounds on various bike news outlets. It seems that the U.S. House of Representatives are proposing some drastic cuts to transportation funding:
Late last week the House released an outline of their transportation bill and the news was not encouraging. The proposal would cut total transportation funding by one-third. It would also kill the tiny slice of dedicated funding for safer walking and biking and drastically reduce transit support, while failing to focus on fixing and repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.
While I understand that the Federal Government can’t possibly pay for everything, and in fact shouldn’t in many cases (the states should be responsible for the bulk of their bike/ped improvements…we’ve discussed this many times around here), this sets a dangerous precedent. But this transportation bill proposal cuts into infrastructure funding of ALL kinds, not just bike/ped stuff, and losing those funds can offer states an “out” in that they may not want to proceed with improvements/restorations without that federal “seed money”. Tough times we’re living in, folks…the economy is affecting everything now, and our cities are crumbling from the streets on up. Anyhow, if you’re inclined, you can contact your state representatives to tell them how you feel by clicking here.
Finally: Need more proof that bikes are the hot fashion accessory these days, and that people of all kinds are flocking to them? Look no further: fashion designer Philip Lim provided a promo of his Fall/Winter 2011 collection by outfitting models with Linus citybikes. It’s a fun, Kraftwerky video preview, and the models and bikes are stunning: