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Key Congressional leaders are attacking Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails and are taking steps to cut off dedicated federal funding for walking and biking. Please act NOW!
We need every single person who simply wants safe options to walk or bicycle to contact their Senators and Representative today at this link sponsored by Safe Routes to School National Partnership! Just click here, and put in your zip code and the names of your congressional delegates will appear with a message you can send to them. It’s that easy to act to protect dedicated funding for biking and walking.
Read on for more information:
House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced yesterday that his transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourage states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.” Chairman Mica’s statement that these programs remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs, they are effectively eliminated.
Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’ This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking. However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.
Help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue dedicated funding for these important bicycling and walking programs.
Do you need some good facts to further bolster your argument?
Not in the federal interest? Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the US, even as funding for biking and walking projects only accounts for 1.5% of the federal transportation budget. That is more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 40 billion walking trips a year, including trips to work, school, shopping and for recreation and tourism.
Frivolous? Two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths are on federally funded highways. One-third of children’s traffic deaths happen when children are walking or bicycling and are struck by cars. Bicycling and walking programs build sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways-improving accessibility and saving lives.
- Biking and walking are important forms of transportation, and funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is a very efficient use of federal transportation dollars. Portland, OR built 300 miles of bike lanes and trails for the cost of one mile of highway.
- These projects create jobs and build local economies. Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building road-only projects per million dollars spent. Cities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects turn downtowns into destinations, and capitalize on increased business activity.
- Eliminating the 1.5% of transportation funding spent on bike/ped would have no meaningful impact on the federal budget, but would decrease transportation options for American families in a time of rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.
Why Act Now? Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak. We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes. Let’s make sure that funding for biking and walking programs don’t disappear for many years.
We need every Senator to tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe that bicycling and walking are vital parts of our transportation system, and that there must be dedicated funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and trails to ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians are safe. And we need every Representative in the House to tell Chairman Mica the same.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY to tell them that bicycling and walking are a critical part of a safe and equitable transportation system. Ask them to tell Representative Mica and Senators Boxer and Inhofe that a federal transportation bill must continue dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.
Here’s a cool blog post and infographic from good.is on the rising popularity of people powered transportation. With the Michigan House of Representatives scheduled to vote on the Complete Streets legislation, this is particularly timely. Passing the legislation will make it even easier for Michigan citizens to continue to increasingly choose walking and biking over automobiles.
“It’s summer, and you may be seeing more people out on the street walking and biking. But it’s not just because the weather is nice. There are more people walking and biking year round, and the Department of Transportation is responding by dramatically increasing the amount of money spent on projects for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The infographic is derived from the 15-year Status Report, which is the third status update to the National Bicycling and Walking Study, originally published in 1994 as an assessment of bicycling and walking as transportation modes in the United States. The report gives an update on the two main goals of the 1994 study: reducing fatalities and increasing the number of trips made by walking and biking. The good news is that improvements were made in both, but funding for these alternatives to automobiles still accounts for only about 2% of transportation funding, so there’s still some work to do. The report also notes that “one of the fastest-growing efforts to promote bicycling and walking is the adoption of Complete Streets policies.”
Webinar scheduled for July 28th from 9am-12pm about the federal economic stimulus funds that are flowing through the US Department of Energy for energy efficiency dollars. There are several energy efficiency sectors eligible to receive the money, and one of them is transportation. A portion of these dollars went to already entitled community block grant cities, but another portion will be awarded to non-entitlement communities who compete for these funds. It has been presented in the training sessions that BIKE PATH FEASIBLITY STUDIES DO QUALIFY. There is one more training opportunity left. You can sign up on the Michigan.gov website at http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,-154-25676-217150–,00.html