Thursday, February 09, 2012

Contact Your Senators And Reps About Important Transportation Votes Next Week

Call your Senators and Representatives!
Both chambers of Congress will be debating transportation bills next week. Sadly, both are terrible. We can dream about a day in which we call our Congressmen to ask that they not spend quite so much money on active transportation. But today we have to speak up or risk losing all the ground we've gained in the past 50 years.

Click here to take action (via League of American Bicyclists)!

The House of Representatives
We've covered the unmitigated disaster that is the House Bill already. The full House will be debating the bill (HR 7) next week, which means you should call your Representative and voice your opposition to this horrendous bill.

The Senate
The Senate's own transportation bill allows state DOTs to opt-out of safe streets programs. Under this bill, DOTs could prevent cities and counties from receiving any federal funds for biking and walking infrastructure (money previously received from Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs).

An amendment to be considered next week would allow local governments to apply directly for federal funds to build walking and biking infrastructure. This Cardin-Cochran amendment doesn't redeem the bill, but it's an improvement, and our Senators need to hear our support for it. Send an e-mail or call their office directly.

Why? Here are four arrows for your quiver:
  • Walking and biking infrastructure are low-cost and create more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending.
  • The House Bill (HR7) takes us back to the 1950s by eliminating dedicated funding for biking and walking, plus kicking transit out of the highway trust fund.
  • The House Bill eliminates Safe Routes to School, an effective and successful program helping our children stay safe while walking or biking to school.
  • Local governments know their transportation needs the best. The Cardin-Cochran amendment allows local government to apply for funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways before that funding is diverted to highways.
The League of American Bicyclists has set up an e-mail system to automatically direct your message to the appropriate Senator and Representative.