Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Transportation bill cuts bike and ped funding

The federal Transportation bill that was released yesterday will effectively eliminate dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. According to an email message sent yesterday by the League of American Bicyclists:
Moments ago, Congressman John Mica (R-FL) announced the introduction of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. The proposed bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycling and walking as we feared, and it goes much further and systematically removes bicycling from the Federal transportation program. It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system -- a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It's a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.

The bill reverses 20 years of progress by:
  • destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional;
  • repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;
  • allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;
  • eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and
  • eliminating language that insures that rumble strips "do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled."
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will vote on the bill on Thursday. Representatives Petri (R-WI) and Johnson (R-IL) will sponsor an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. There are no Virginia representatives on the T&I Committee. However, you can take action. See the LAB Advocacy page for suggested next steps.

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