We told you late last week that the crisis in federal transportation funding was only getting worse, and to stay tuned for an Action Alert. This is it. The consensus among advocacy groups, like the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Transportation for America and MassBike, is that there is no chance for salvaging the House transportation bill. MassBike is in close touch with the Massachusetts delegation and is confident that we will have their unanimous opposition to this horrible transportation bill. (Which is why we are not asking you to contact your House Representatives about killing H.R. 7 – but you can if you want.)
Hope, then, lies in the Senate. Over the past few days, two amendments have been proposed to the Senate’s transportation bill (MAP-21, or S. 1813) that would fix many of the problems relating to bike funding. Without these amendments, the three key sources of funding for biking and walking (Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails Program) will no longer receive dedicated funding and will instead be forced to compete with many other programs for a smaller pot of money.
Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) are co-sponsoring an amendment which would give local communities more access to Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. In Massachusetts, this amendment would likely make it easier for towns and cities to access this funding.
Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) amendment would restore dedicated funding to the Recreational Trails Program, a key resource for off-road trails.
In Massachusetts, these programs have been leveraged into hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in off-road trails, paved multi-use paths, and improved signage, drainage, and crossings that remove barriers to biking. Just a few examples of worthwhile projects that received funding were:
- The Independence Greenway in Peabody for path construction;
- The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in North Adams for trail construction;
- The New England Mountain Bike Association for maintenance and improvement of numerous off-road facilities around the state.
- The Jamaica Pond Trail in Boston for both construction and land acquisition.
We are asking you to do two things:
1. Call and/or email your Senators TODAY, tell them why bicycling is important to you, and ask them to SUPPORT the Cardin-Cochran Amendment and the Klobuchar Amendment to MAP-21 (S. 1813).
Don’t have time to write your own email? Click here to send a pre-written email message.
2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you contacted them!
We know that we have been sending out a lot of Action Alerts on federal issues, but we want you to know that it’s only because the situation has grown that dire. Thanks so much for adding your voice to this crisis – and stay tuned for more developments!