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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Save Biking and Walking [via America Bikes]

Both chambers of Congress are about to vote on their version of transportation bills, and it's time to ask our elected officials to save our streets. Contact your elected officials today.

The current Senate transportation bill dilutes walking and biking programs. To make the bill better, we're asking senators to vote for the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran Amendment. The Cardin-Cochran amendment would:
  • Give local governments a voice in transportation. The amendment ensures that cities and counties will have a voice in making transportation decisions about safer streets in communities.
  • Make Main Street safer for all users. Bicycle and pedestrian deaths make up 14% of all traffic fatalities, but less than 2% of federal transportation funds go towards making walking and biking safer. The Cardin-Cochran amendment would allow local governments to fund the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe.
  • Invest wisely in transportation infrastructure. Walking and biking infrastructure is low-cost, creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, and is critical to economic development for Main Street America.
As written, the Senate bill is deeply concerning. Without the Cardin-Cochran Amendment, the Senate bill:
  • Incentivizes state-level highway construction over local safety projects. The base bill takes transportation choices away from local governments by allowing state Departments of Transportation to siphon off limited funds from local street safety projects for expensive highway construction.
  • Cuts dedicated funding for walking and biking. As written, the Senate bill disproportionately cuts walking and bicycling funding that local governments use to keep Main Street safe.
For America Bikes' official statement on the Senate bill (MAP-21), please click here (PDF).
To improve the bill, the America Bikes coalition urges senators to support the Cardin-Cochran amendment on the Senate floor. The Cardin-Cochran amendment would improve the MAP-21 Senate bill by giving a voice to local governments in their transportation decisions, allowing communities to build the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe. For a detailed summary of the Cardin-Cochran amendment, click here. (PDF)
In the House, we are asking representatives to oppose the House transportation bill. Despite the fact that walking and bicycling infrastructure is a low-cost investment that creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking.
Please contact your senators and representative and ask them to save our streets! Stay tuned for a link to an easy way to contact your elected officials.


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