We reported last week that the House of Representatives was moving to eliminate critical federal funding for biking and walking. The situation in the House is even more dire than we thought.
Today, the House releases its transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Act. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will vote on the bill this Thursday. Last week, we knew the bill would be bad news for biking and walking. But we didn’t think it would go so far as to completely cut bicycling and walking out of federal transportation policy.
We now know that the bill would do much more damage than initially thought, including:
- Destroys Transportation Enhancements by making the program optional
- Repeals the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school
- Allows states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles
- Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs
- Eliminates language requiring that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled”
But there is still hope. Representative Petri (R-WI) will stand up for bicycling and walking by offering an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School, and hopefully goes even further to address the other problems. One of our own Representatives, Michael Capuano, is a leading member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and we have already directly contacted those of you who live in his district to take action now. (If you are a Capuano constituent and did not receive our direct Action Alert, please ask him to support the Petri amendment right now – his number is (202) 225-5111, or you can email him by clicking here.)
In a couple of weeks, when the bill reaches the floor of the House, we will be asking all bicyclists in Massachusetts to contact their representatives.
This is as urgent as it gets. Even if we do win this amendment, there will be a long road ahead. But if we lose here, we risk losing decades of progress.
We know we are asking a lot of you and we thank you for all you’re doing to preserve biking and walking.