We’ve been riding on extensions of the Transportation Bill for over two years, waiting for a new one to come out. We’ve been through waves and cycles of thinking it was actually going to happen. Well it’s happening now! It may not make it all the way through the process but it’s the first time that something real has come out as “the next transportation bill”. However, that new bill has the look and feel of a 1970 Highway bill more than a 21st century transportation bill that considers active transportation and well funded transit as key pieces of the transportation system! The new bill takes out funding for Transportation Enhancements (where A LOT of our local bike/ped projects have been funded from), Safe Routes to School (SRTS), and pretty much takes out any program or project that mentions bicycles or pedestrians, including state ped/bike coordinators at DOTs.
That’s why it’s essential that you call or write to urge DeFazio to take on the leadership roll of making sure active transportation dollars are dedicated as part of the next transportation bill! Do this before noon on Wednesday!
Currently there are three amendments already in motion for the bill. Those include an amendment that would restore Transportation Enhancements and SRTS back into the transportation bill, one that would add funding for “transit operation assistance” and another that would include funds for bridge repair (the draft bill doesn’t even require bike/ped projects on new bridges which the old bill did). Ask DeFazio to support these amendments that create a more complete transportation bill and ask him to take a leadership roll in insuring bicycle, pedestrian, and transit funding are included in our next transportation bill. He needs to hear from his local constituents! Contact him now!
You may have heard a ‘call to action’ a month or two ago… this is another, even more important one, and I won’t say it will be the last. This fight to keep funding for cycling and walking infrastructure is going to go on until the new bill is voted in (maybe this session, maybe not). But THIS is a pivotal moment. Call now.