The proposed surface transportation bill released yesterday pretty much eliminates all federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects and programs. Yes, you’ve probably already seen a lot of buzz of Facebook and Twitter about this; but have you done anything about it?
Personally, this one hurts. The proposal completely wipes away the Safe Routes to School Program, eliminates requirements that state transportation departments have to have one bicycle and pedestrian coordinator on staff, and destroys Transportation Enhancements (I’ll explain this). Above all, the complete exclusion of bicycles and pedestrians from the bill infers that these ‘modes’ are not even transportation options. Never mind data that shows 12% of all trips are by foot or bicycle. Never mind that bicyclists and pedestrians suffer a disproportionate number of incapacitating and fatal accidents on our nation’s roadways. Federal programs and policies have had a tremendous impact on communities across the country and there is no doubt that these contributions have saved lives and contributed to growing rates of bicycling and walking nation-wide. This one hurts because every day I use facilities that were funded through federal Transportation Enhancement grants. You don’t need to be an advocate or a commuter to act on this one. If you ride a bike or have a friend or loved one who rides, please take a look at the link below.
The League of American Bicyclists helps you contact your representative through their website. It’s super easy and won’t take more than a few minutes. Here’s the link: http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2012/01/horrible-surface-transportation-bill-unveiled-today-bicycle-programs-eliminated/
If you live in Tucson, here’s a short list of projects and programs that were funded (or partially funded) by Transportation Enhancements. This list doesn’t cover everything.
- University of Arizona – Tyndall Avenue
- “The Loop” river path (Santa Cruz & Rillito)
- Bicycle Ambassadors program
- Bicycle & Pedestrian ‘TOUCAN’ signals (University Blvd & Stone, 3rd Street & Alvernon)
- Basket Bridge
- Liberty Bike Boulevard (not constructed yet)
- Middle School Education Program (not implemented yet)
There are a few other ways to support those who are working hard for you (assuming you ride bikes or walk around your community).
- Help spread the word about the proposed surface transportation bill and how to help get bike/ped funding reinstated.
- Become a member of the League of American Bicyclists (I am currently not a member but will pay my dues when I’m done with my training today)
- Become a member of your local/regional transportation alternatives non-profit. If you live in Tucson, our local non-profit is Living Streets Alliance.