I use sidewalks and bicycle routes regularly. If you walk or bike you likely benefit from federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian enhancements. Bummer to hear that the federal transportation enhancement program as we know it is targeted for elimination in the fed's 2012 transportation bill.
Please take a minute and click around below to let our US Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt know that you want to see federal support for active transportation infrastructure continue.
Thanks to Brent Hugh from the Missouri Bicycle Federation for sharing this important alert below.
Next Monday or Tuesday the U.S. Senate will vote on a proposal to eliminate the single largest source of funding for bicycling and walking facilities in the U.S.
We are in an unusual situation in Missouri, where Senator Roy Blunt has voiced support for continuing the Transportation Enhancements program and Senator Claire McCaskill has voiced strong opposition to it.
Both senators need to hear from you--Senator Blunt, to shore up his support, and Senator McCaskill so that she will change her mind.
It only takes a couple of minutes, and if our senators do not hear a tidal wave of citizen response whenever our key bicycle and pedestrian programs are attacked, those programs will be eliminated sooner or later.If they hear from people like you and me who recognize the value of safe places to bicycle and walk, this important funding will be preserved:
WHAT IS TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENTS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
What kind of bicycle and pedestrian projects does Transportation Enhancements fund? It's everything from bike lanes to shoulders to sidewalks to crosswalks to trails to bridge and viaduct expansion or retrofit for bicycle/pedestrian access, and much more. Basically any bicycle or pedestrian project you see around your neighborhood, your city, or the state is could be funded by Transportation Enhancements.
Since Transportation Enhancements was started in 1991, we have seen a sea change in the environment for bicycling and walking in the U.S. After decades of neglect, it has taken two decades to start to reverse that progress. But the progress and improvement we have seen in Missouri in bicycling and walking over the past few years is in very large part a result of Transportation Enhancements funding.
If we want to see that progress continue and accelerate, we must continue Transportation Enhancements.
If we want to see that progress reverse and decline, all we need to do is stop Transportation Enhancements funding.
It is a very small percentage of the federal budget that makes a huge difference in our neighborhoods and communities.
Contact your senators to support bicycle and pedestrian funding:
More details about the Missouri situation and why Transportation Enhancements funding is vitally important are here:
FROM THE ALLIANCE FOR BIKING AND WALKING
It's happening again. Just one month ago, Sen. Coburn (R-OK) failed in his efforts to strip funding for Transportation Enhancements from the six-month transportation extension.
Now, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is taking the lead in trying to destroy Transportation Enhancements. On November 1, the Senate will finalize the transportation appropriations bill, which sets funding levels for FY2012. Sen. Paul has offered an amendment to redirect all funding for Transportation Enhancements to bridge repair.
We agree on the need to keep our bridges safe, but the lives of pedestrians and cyclists are important too. Thirteen people died when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed in 2007. Since then, close to 20,000 pedestrians and 2,800 cyclists have died on our nation's highways, largely as a result of poor highway design and a lack of safe non-motorized infrastructure - exactly what the enhancement program was created to fix.
If Sen. Paul's amendment is successful, it would eliminate approximately $700 million in federal funding for FY2012 that is used to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, trails and other infrastructure that makes it safe for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around. Even if every penny of these funds is diverted to bridge repairs, Senator Paul's plan will still take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs we have today - by which time all those repaired bridges would be falling down again.
Remember that the TE program represents less than two percent of the federal transportation program and these projects help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety, get people active, and create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects.
Remember also that last year, states sent back to Washington $530 million of unspent bridge funds in rescissions. The states are leaving bridge repair funds on the table, unspent, year after year. They should at least spend these funds first.
If the Paul amendment succeeds, it will make it much more challenging to sustain funding for Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails in the long-term transportation bill that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee starts debating on November 9.
We must turn back any amendment to strip Transportation Enhancements.
Last month, more than 75,000 messages were sent to Senators to ask them to stand strong for Transportation Enhancements. Thank you, that was an amazing turnout - but we must do better this time. Every time someone in Congress attacks bicycling and walking, we must push back even stronger than we did the time before. And, we will keep doing it until bicycle and pedestrian funding is protected.
This is the third time in a month that a small group of Senators has targeted Transportation Enhancements, using a different angle each time. It is a waste of the Senate's time and taxpayers' dollars to focus on this small and valuable program when we are in dire need of real and viable solutions to fix our failing transportation system.
Please contact your Senators today to ask them to vote against the Paul amendment (SA-821) to eliminate Transportation Enhancements.
Jeff Miller, Alliance for Biking and Walking
It takes only two minutes to contact your senators at this web site:
Or contact them directly via their web sites:
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Roy Blunt