Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding under Attack AGAIN, Contact your Senators to Save Transportation Enhancements Funding
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 to destroy Transportation Enhancements. On November 1, the Senate will finalize the transportation appropriations bill. Sen. Paul has proposed an amendment to redirect all funding for Transportation Enhancements to bridge repair.
Send an email to your Senators now to ask them to vote against the Paul amendment that would eliminate Transportation Enhancements. We agree on the need to keep our bridges safe, but the lives of pedestrians and cyclists are important too.
If Sen. Paul’s amendment succeeds, it would eliminate $700 million in federal funding in 2012 that is used to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, trails and other infrastructure that makes our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Even if every penny of these funds is actually diverted to bridge repairs, Senator Paul’s plan will still take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs we have today. Keep in mind that:
- The TE program represents less than two percent of federal transportation fund. These projects help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety, get people active, and create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects.
- Last year, states gave more than $530 million dollars of bridge repair money back to the federal government last year.
- 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 TE program was created to fix.
If the Paul amendment succeeds, it will make it much more challenging to sustain funding for TE, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails in the long-term transportation bill that the Environment and Public Works Committee starts debating just 8 days later 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 TE. 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. And, we will keep doing it until bicycle and pedestrian funding is protected.
This is the third time in a month that a few Senators have targeted Transportation Enhancements, using a different angle each time. It is a waste of the Senate’s time and taxpayer 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.
And then forward this message to five others who care about the safety of people walking and bicycling on our streets. Thanks for your help, and for passing this along.