ALERT: U.S. Senators try to eliminate bike/ped funding--again
Oct 26, 2011 14:47 PDT
[ACTION ALERT: PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY THROUGH 10 NOV 2011]
Today the Alliance for Biking and Walking sent the Action Alert below.
Please take a moment to contact our Missouri Senators in support of
Transportation Enhancements--currently the main source of funding for
bicycling and walking projects in the U.S:
We are in an unusual situation in Missouri, where Senator Roy Blunt
has voiced support for continuing the Transportation Enhancements
program and Senator Claire McCaskill has voiced strong opposition to it.
Both senators need to hear from you--Senator Blunt, to shore up his
support, and Senator McCaskill so that she will change her mind.
It only takes a couple of minutes, and if our senators do not hear a
tidal wave of citizen response whenever our key bicycle and
pedestrian programs are attacked, those programs will be eliminated
sooner or later.
More details about the Missouri situation and why Transportation
Enhancements funding is vitally important are here:
WHAT IS TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENTS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
What kind of bicycle and pedestrian projects does Transportation
Enhancements fund? It's everything from bike lanes to shoulders to
sidewalks to crosswalks to trails to bridge and viaduct expansion or
retrofit for bicycle/pedestrian access, and much more. Basically any
bicycle or pedestrian project you see around your neighborhood, your
city, or the state is could be funded by Transportation Enhancements.
Since Transportation Enhancements was started in 1991, we have seen a
sea change in the environment for bicycling and walking in the
U.S. After decades of neglect, it has taken two decades to start to
reverse that progress. But the progress and improvement we have seen
in Missouri in bicycling and walking over the past few years is in
very large part a result of Transportation Enhancements funding.
If we want to see that progress continue and accelerate, we must
continue Transportation Enhancements.
If we want to see that progress reverse and decline, all we need to
do is stop Transportation Enhancements funding.
It is a very small percentage of the federal budget that makes a huge
difference in our neighborhoods and communities.
Contact your senators to support bicycle and pedestrian funding:
FROM THE ALLIANCE FOR BIKING AND WALKING
It's happening again. Just one month ago, Sen. Coburn (R-OK) failed
in his efforts to strip funding for Transportation Enhancements from
the six-month transportation extension.
Now, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is taking the lead in trying to destroy
Transportation Enhancements. On November 1, the Senate will finalize
the transportation appropriations bill, which sets funding levels for
FY2012. Sen. Paul has offered an amendment to redirect all funding
for Transportation Enhancements to bridge repair.
We agree on the need to keep our bridges safe, but the lives of
pedestrians and cyclists are important too. Thirteen people died when
the Minneapolis bridge collapsed in 2007. Since then, close to 20,000
pedestrians and 2,800 cyclists have died on our nation's highways,
largely as a result of poor highway design and a lack of safe
non-motorized infrastructure - exactly what the enhancement program
was created to fix.
If Sen. Paul's amendment is successful, it would eliminate
approximately $700 million in federal funding for FY2012 that is used
to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, trails and other
infrastructure that makes it safe for bicyclists and pedestrians to
get around. Even if every penny of these funds is diverted to bridge
repairs, Senator Paul's plan will still take 80 years to fix the
backlog of bridge repairs we have today - by which time all those
repaired bridges would be falling down again.
Remember that the TE program represents less than two percent of the
federal transportation program and these projects help alleviate
traffic congestion, improve safety, get people active, and create
more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects.
Remember also that last year, states sent back to Washington $530
million of unspent bridge funds in rescissions. The states are
leaving bridge repair funds on the table, unspent, year after year.
They should at least spend these funds first.
If the Paul amendment succeeds, it will make it much more challenging
to sustain funding for Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to
School, and Recreational Trails in the long-term transportation bill
that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee starts
debating on November 9.
We must turn back any amendment to strip Transportation Enhancements.
Last month, more than 75,000 messages were sent to Senators to ask
them to stand strong for Transportation Enhancements. Thank you, that
was an amazing turnout - but we must do better this time. Every time
someone in Congress attacks bicycling and walking, we must push back
even stronger than we did the time before. And, we will keep doing it
until bicycle and pedestrian funding is protected.
This is the third time in a month that a small group of Senators has
targeted Transportation Enhancements, using a different angle each
time. It is a waste of the Senate's time and taxpayers' dollars to
focus on this small and valuable program when we are in dire need of
real and viable solutions to fix our failing transportation system.
Please contact your Senators today to ask them to vote against the
Paul amendment (SA-821) to eliminate Transportation Enhancements.
Jeff Miller, Alliance for Biking and Walking
It takes only two minutes at this web site:
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide
coalition of bicyclists, walkers, runners, trail organizations and
related businesses which represents over 30,000 Missourians and
advocates on behalf of the state's two million ardent bicyclists and
six million walkers.
Join MoBikeFed's advocacy alert network:
Dr. Brent Hugh, LCI #1335
Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation