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Federal Funding for Cycling and Walking at Risk

News That Affects You........

By Barbara Schmid

 

Last week, the League of American Bicyclists shared that House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) was introducing a transportation bill that will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourages states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.” 

These programs are key when local officials attempt to garner federal funds to make our Grand Rapids-area roadways safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Writing our legislators actually has a big impact on their decisions when they decide about these programs! It works on the local, state and national level, so please consider voicing your opinion. Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak.  We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes. 

On the Senate side, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) declared that one of his top three priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’  This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking.  However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

To help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails, contact your Members of Congress and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue funding for these important bicycling and walking programs. Use this web address from Safe Routes to School to find out who you should write: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/7093/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7483. There's also a form letter attached to make it easy for you!


 

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