Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's Convince Congressmen Meehan and LoBiondo to be Bike/Ped Heroes

The House Transportation Bill Straps Dynamite To Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs

The House Transportation Bill was made public today and it's worse than predicted. Here is how the bill takes the heart out of federal biking and walking policies:
  • Destroys Transportation Enhancements by making the program optional
  • Repeals the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school
  • Allows states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles
  • Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs
  • Eliminates language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled”
The operating philosophy of this House transportation bill
Great Balls of Fire! Welcome to the 1950's.

Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) is going to introduce an amendment in Committee on Thursday, February 2nd that will restore the Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School programs. We really want the Petri amendment to pass. If it does, it sends a strong signal to the House (and Senate) Leadership that biking and walking should not be decimated.

You can see a list of TE and SRTS projects in LoBiondo and Meehan's districts here

Here's how you can help.
Congressman Pat Meehan (PA-7) and Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) sit on the Committee and will vote on the bill on Thursday. They are key Congressmen for this vote. They need to hear from their constituents who want to preserve biking and walking funding that they should vote YES on the Petri Amendment.

If you live in either PA-7 or NJ-2, please call your Congressmen and let them know that you want them to vote YES on the PETRI amendment.

If you haven't already done so, you can also send a letter to your Congressman, but your phone calls to their offices will have greater impact.
Help us thwart this bill's destructive, regressive, and unsafe agenda - take action!
DVRPC recently reported that overall traffic fatalities are declining, but the percentage which are bicycle and pedestrian deaths is climbing - now almost 25%. The message is clear: we need more, not less, protection for bicycles and pedestrians.

We have covered the damage this would do to Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School here and here. But the bill's other proposals go beyond funding and into the US DOT's bicycling and walking policies (i.e. complete streets). Losing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator position is particularly damaging - those positions may not get picked up by the austerity at the State level. New Jersey could lose its entire bicycle and pedestrian office.