This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, which is less than 2 percent of total transportation dollars, will be spent on bicycling and walking nationwide. In 2012 that figure might be zero. Please contact Senators Kerry and Brown TODAY and let them know you support continued funding for biking and walking.
Congressional leaders have made little progress on a new transportation funding bill to replace the SAFETEA-LU Act that expired in 2009. Transportation funding has continued through a series of extensions – and the current extension ends September 30th. Last Friday, they announced a tentative deal for a “clean” extension of SAFETEA-LU that will continue funding at current levels into early 2012. The deal would keep funding for biking and walking programs in place, avert a shutdown of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people working on transportation infrastructure projects.
But we’re not safe yet: In the next few days, Senator Coburn (R-Oklahoma) may ask Congress to eliminate the Transportation Enhancements program – the primary funding source for the past 20 years for bike lanes, trails, bike racks on buses, bike education, and more. This isn’t safe or smart; it’s not good for the economy or the environment; this is bad health policy and bad transportation policy.
Massachusetts spent $97,712,865 on Transportation Enhancements from 1992-2009, and another $5,620,380 on Safe Routes to School making it possible for thousands of children to bike or walk to school. We cannot allow Transportation Enhancements to fall victim to partisan political grandstanding. If we cannot save Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, the Recreational Trails Program, and other vital sources of funding for biking and walking will not be far behind.
Even though bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects and cutting enhancements won’t impact the deficit – the money just won’t be spent on bicycling – some Members of Congress want to force us backwards to a 1950s highway-only mindset: as if oil embargoes, congestion, smog, the obesity epidemic and climate change never happened.
To protect against cuts to biking and walking programs, we are asking you to contact Senators Kerry and Brown and urge them to support continued funding. Don’t let short-sighted people in Congress take away this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.
Please take action today:
1. Call and/or email Senator Kerry and Senator Brown TODAY, tell them why bicycling is important to you, and ask them to do two things:
- OPPOSE any move to eliminate the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program
- SUPPORT a clean extension of the SAFETEA-LU programs (pronounced “Safety Lou”)
Senator John Kerry: (202) 224-2742, Email (select “Transportation” as Topic)
Senator Scott Brown: (202) 224-4543, Email (select “Transportation” as Topic)
Don’t have time to write your own email? Click here to send a pre-written email message to both Senators.
2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you contacted them!
Every single call or email matters, so please act today!