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CRITICALLY IMPORTANT – Funding for biking and walking under attack. Take Immediate Action!

This just in from the Alliance for Biking & Walking:

DEDICATED FUNDING FOR BICYCLING AND WALKING HAS BEEN CUT in the House’s Transportation proposal. Chairman Mica would eliminate critical Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails Programs, programs that he referred to as “not in the national interest”. Chairman Mica’s statement that these uses remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs they are effectively eliminated.

Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe, a lead negotiator in the Senate debate, 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 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 bicycling and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

We need every single person in Pennsylvania who simply wants safe options to walk or bicycle to contact Senators Casey and Toomey and your Representative TODAY! We ask you as local and regional bike owners & riders, or folks simply who want to live in more livable communities to call and write IMMEDIATELY.

Below are talking points and sample emails you can use when contacting our elected officials. In addition, thanks to our friends at the League of American Bicyclists, you can also use the LAB Action Center to make contact by clicking here.

Talking Points:

Not in the National Interest?

Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the US – even as funding for biking and walking projects only account for 1.5% of the federal transportation budget. – that’s more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 40 billion walking trips a year- including trips to work, school, shopping and for recreation and tourism.

Frivolous?

Bicyclists and pedestrians are the victims of reckless highway design, accounting for 14% of all traffic related deaths. Two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths are on federally funded highways.   Bicycling and walking programs build sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways, improving accessibility and saving lives.

The Facts

  1. Biking and walking are important forms of transportation, and dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is a very efficient use of federal transportation dollars.  Portland, Oregon built a 300-mile network of bike lanes, multi-use trails, and bike boulevards for the cost of one mile of highway.
  2. These projects also create jobs, and build local economies.  Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building road-only projects per million dollars spent.  Cities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects turn downtowns into destinations, and capitalize on increased business activity.
  3. Finally, shifting 1.5% of transportation spending has no impact on the federal budget, but instead, decreases transportation options for American families in a time of rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.

Help Protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Representative and Senators, and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue dedicated funding for these important biking and walking programs.  We need every Senator and every Representative to speak out for walking and biking.

Why Now

Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak.  We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes.  Let’s make sure that dedicated funding for biking and walking programs don’t disappear for many years.

Your Next Steps:

Immediately contact our PA elected officials at the links above or by using the LAB Action Center here.

We really appreciate your efforts to help all of us maintain these important programs.  Please let us know if you have any questions. Just submit a comment below.

Sample Emails:

Sample Text of email message that you can send to Senators Bob Casey or Pat Toomey.

Dear Senator ______,

Please support dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation authorization bill.

Bicycling and walking are not partisan issues.  They are increasingly popular and cost-effective modes of transportation. Each year, more and more people walk or bike, over 4 billion bicycle trips to work, school, transit or shops. For many people in America, walking and bicycling is the only form of transportation available to them because they are too young, too old or too poor to drive their own car. For other Americans, the health and environmental reasons are compelling.

But, as bicyclists and pedestrians, we face significant safety risks every time we step out the door because so many communities lack basic infrastructure like bike lanes, trails, crosswalks and even sidewalks.  In fact 2/3 of pedestrian deaths occur on the federal aid highway system.

Programs like Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program have provided critical dollars that help America’s communities install this much-needed bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to ensure that biking and walking can be done safely.  Furthermore, these projects create jobs and build local economies.  Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building a road project per million dollars.

But now, Senator Inhofe wants to eliminate all funding for these programs.  Just last week he said that eliminating these investments is one of his top three priorities for the entire transportation bill—even though bicycling and walking funding makes up just 1.5% of all transportation spending, and 12% of all transportation trips.

I implore you to contact Senators Boxer and Inhofe to let them know that you support continuing dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.  Please stand up for Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails.

I look forward to hearing back from you about your position and actions.  Thank you for standing up for me on this important issue.

Sample Text of email message that you can send your Representative in the House (Most likely you will be writing to either Rep. Mike Doyle, Rep. Jason Altmire, or Rep. Tim Murphy, but it could be someone different – please click here to confirm).

Dear Representative ______________,

Please support dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation authorization bill.

Bicycling and walking are not partisan issues.  They are increasingly popular and cost-effective modes of transportation. Each year, more and more people walk or bike, over 4 billion bicycle trips to work, school, transit or shops. For many people in America, walking and bicycling is the only form of transportation available to them because they are too young, too old or too poor to drive their own car. For other Americans, the health and environmental reasons are compelling.

But, as bicyclists and pedestrians, we face significant safety risks every time we step out the door because so many communities lack basic infrastructure like bike lanes, trails, crosswalks and even sidewalks. In fact 2/3 of pedestrian deaths occur on the federal aid highway system.

Programs like Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program have provided critical dollars that help America’s communities install this much-needed bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to ensure that biking and walking can be done safely.  Furthermore, these projects create jobs and build local economies.  Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building a road project per million dollars.

But now, Chairman Mica has proposed eliminating all funding for these programs – even though bicycling and walking funding makes up just 1.5% of all transportation spending, and 12% of all transportation trips.

I implore you to contact Chairman Mica to let them know that you support continuing dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.  Please stand up for Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails.

I look forward to hearing back from you about your position and actions.  Thank you for standing up for me on this important issue.


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