Friday, October 1, 2010

Proposed $4M Cut to VA Bike-Ped Project Funding

We received this message from Virginia Bicycling Federation today about proposed cuts to Transportation Enhancement funding for bike/ped projects in Virginia. Please write to the Commonwealth Transportation Board to ask them to oppose this proposed policy change:
Proposed $4M Cut to VA Bike-Ped Project Funding

Send a Letter by October 19 to Oppose Changes

Bike Club/Race Team President:

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is proposing major policy changes to the Transportation Enhancement (TE) fund that could severely cut funding for bike and pedestrian projects in Virginia. I need you and your members to take a few minutes and send an email or note to the CTB and stop this before it's too late.

We need you to send a note to the CTB opposing this by October 19.

Please ask the Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton (SEAN.CONNAUGHTON@GOVERNOR.VIRGINIA.GOV) and the entire Board to oppose these changes. Let them know that you want these funds to be used for core bike and pedestrian projects, not to develop scenic highway programs or to pay for tourist brochures.

I have attached a sample note at the end of this email.


Each year, a portion of the federal Surface Transportation Program funds are set -aside for transportation enhancement projects. TE funds are one of the primary sources of funding for bikepaths, sidewalks and trail in Virginia. Normally, this amounts to $15 - $20 million per year

The CTB annually receives 150 - 200 requests for proejects each year but can only fund around 100 of these requests.

In July, the Governor asked that $4M - nearly a quarter of the available funds - be spent on, "high priority statewide initiatives (tourism based initiatives, etc." to build tourist centers, and funding programs such as promoting scenic roads and cultural attractions.

The VBF doesn’t oppose promoting tourism, but Virginia already budgets over $18M for the Virginia Tourism Corporation to do this. They don't need our TE funds to print more brochures.

Please share this with your members and ask them to send a note today.

Thanks for taking the time to make a difference.


Champe Burnley
VA Bicycling Federation
PO Box 7282
Richmond, VA 23221

Here's a sample note send to the Board:


Secretary Sean Connaugton and
Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 233219

Mr. Secretary and Members of the CTB:

Please share this message with the entire CTB.

I urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to oppose the proposed changes to the Transportation Enhancement Funding policy but instead prioritize these funds on key projects which build facilities to promote walking, cycling and alternatives to driving our cars.

Riding bicycles and walking benefits the Commonwealth in many ways including:

- health benefits;
- reduced health care costs;
- increasing the number of children who can safely walk or ride their bikes to school;
- decreased smog and air pollution;
- decreased dependence on foreign oil;
- less congestion on our roads by getting people out of their cars;
- tourism income by attracting visitors to ride and hike in Virginia;
- increased revenues by attracting businesses and individuals to relocate to our Virginia and
- a better quality of life for everyone

As a resident of Virginia, I want to have choices in transportation and the Transportation Enhancement Fund should be used to fund alternative transportation facilities.

Please prioritize these limited funds on key projects that benefit the Commonwealth and citizens by moving people, not paper.

Just last year, under Governor Kaine, the Commonwealth Transportation Board did just the opposite and approved proposed changes to the Transportation Enhancement Program policy that would provide more funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. After McDonnel took office, he decided there was too much money for bike/ped projects and instead suggested that money be used to fund rest stops for motorists.

Update: We just sent a message to the above email address and it bounced. We're searching for a better address for the VA Transportation Secretary.

Update II: The correct address appears to be SEAN.CONNAUGHTON@GOVERNOR.VIRGINIA.GOV. We converted it to lower case and that apparently made a difference. I thought email addresses were case insensitive.

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Thanks for posting this. I'm sending my customized copy to the mailing address in the hopes that it will have a little more impact.

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