This timely blog just in from SVBC Board of Directors member Ian Dewar. Listen up and act fast!
The Future of transportation is here… and it does not look good for cyclists.
On Thursday Feb 2nd, the House Transportation committee will take the first vote on the new transportation bill called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. This bill shockingly eliminates all federal funding for biking and walking. This is a $260 billion bill that will support all federally funded transportation programs for the next five years. Not only has the bill removed mention to key cycling projects, it actively eliminates programs that most cycling funding comes from, including Safe Routes to School and the Transportation Enhancements program.
America Bikes have prepared a list of the Top Ten Problems with this bill:
- Transportation Enhancements is gone.
- Safe Routes to School is gone.
- The Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program (CMAQ) is less likely to support pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements because air quality is no longer the operative measure.
- States are no longer required to maintain safe bridge access for bicycles.
- Rails to Trails are no longer eligible for funding under the Surface Transportation program.
- Pedestrian and bicycle coordinators in state DOTs are eliminated.
- Pedestrian, bicycle and Enhancements clearinghouses gone.
- Eliminates the requirement that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”
- Eliminates language that specifically includes traffic calming and improvements for ped-bike safety as eligible HSIP projects.
- Transit Enhancements is gone.
This proposal would roll back over 20 years of infrastructure spending growth, which has resulted in a huge increase in cycling across the United States. Compare the two attached charts on cycling spending and cycling participation.
For anyone who rides a bike or walks for transportation or commuting to work this is terrible news. For anyone who has children in school this is terrible news. For recreational cyclists who want safe roads and bike lanes to get them out of town this is terrible news.
There is only one way to stop this bill from going through in its current form and that is to make our voices heard and talk directly to the members of the House of Representatives and then our Senators and tell them what we think.
If you Representative is on the Transportation Committee (you can check HERE) call their office and ask them to put funding for cycling back in the Transportation bill.
If you can go to their local office or the office in Washington DC, do that. If not, write a letter or send an email.
The League of American Bicyclists has an excellent link which will allow you to write directly to your Representative. Do it now by CLICKING HERE.
Even if your Representative is not on the Transportation Committee, send a letter to them telling them why cycling is important to you and why you want to see this funding preserved.
To find out more about this very important issue please see what the League, America Bikes, The Alliance for Biking and Walking have to say.