Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Transportation Enhancement program on the chopping block

The Post has an article today entitled Tight money, looser constraints? With the transportation budget stretched, Congress may jettison mandates that have guided funds to bike paths and walkways. The Transportation Enhancement program funds projects such as rail-trails like the W&OD trail. Back in 2007 and 2009 Senator Coburn tried to cut TE funding, each year getting more votes in favor of gutting the program. In 2009 Virginia's Senator Webb vote for the cuts.

The current battle is being led by Senator McCain who wants to retain funding for "active transportation projects" but cut funding for the other Enhancement programs such as landscaping, historic preservation, museums and welcome centers. McCain and Coburn may have gotten the message about how popular bicycle projects are in most communities. According to Streetsblog Capital Hill:
Notably, even Sen. Tom Coburn - author of the last attack on TE - specifically noted in his floor speech supporting McCain’s language that “this is not about attacking the bicycle community.” He also seemed to commend McCain for excluding from his measure the active transportation elements of TE that Coburn said appear to be important to many people. (That means he got an earful from a lot of walking and biking advocates last time around!)

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