Monday, the Massachusetts House passed a dramatically scaled-back transportation finance plan – only about 50% of the amount multiple independent analyses have concluded is necessary to maintain our crumbling transportation system and invest in much-needed expansion projects. You can find out more information about the debate here.
MassBike is very concerned about the Legislature’s plan to fund transportation. A major issue is that, unlike the Governor’s Transportation Plan, the Legislature’s alternative does not dedicate any funding to biking and walking. Further, it would require large increases in transit fares and tolls, while abandoning capital projects such as the Green Line extension, South Coast rail and South Station expansion – all critical to economic development and new jobs. And it would forfeit federal funds available to pay for much of these projects. Instead of investing in the future of Massachusetts transportation, the Legislature’s proposal will cost us all more without any discernible improvement in our infrastructure.
Tomorrow is a big day for biking and walking. The Bike/Walk Summit is taking place, and we are asking local advocates come to the State House to educate their legislators about our six pieces of legislation (see below). But perhaps even more urgently, the Senate is going to be debating and possibly voting on the transportation finance bill. We need you to call your legislators at this critical point TODAY.
1. Please call/email and ask your state Senator:
- Will you support adequate transportation funding, which at a minimum is $800 – $900 million annually?
2. Please call/email and ask both your Senator and Representative:
- Will you support the following bills to improve road safety for all users?
- Senior Safety Zones Bill, HB 550 – Establishes reduced speed limit zones in areas with larger elderly populations;
- Vulnerable Road Users Bill, SB 1639 – Adds protections from being struck by a motor vehicle to bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users of the road;
- Active Streets and Healthy Communities Bill, SB 68 / HB 3091 – Creates a certification process for “Active Streets Communities,” which would provide eligibility for certain kinds of funding;
- Bike Lane Protection Bill, SB 1640 – Prohibits parking motor vehicles in bike lanes;
- Snow Removal Bill, HB 1570 – Incentivizes snow removal from sidewalks;
- Speed Limits Bill, HB 3129 – Reduces the prevailing speed limits on most local roads to 25 mph.
3. Email Action@MassBike.org to let us know how it went.
Don’t know who your legislators are or how to contact them? Find out here.
Email is OK, but phone calls are preferred. Again, this is a critical point in the transportation conversation. We are hoping to put pressure on the Senate to pass a larger transportation bill, which will give us an opportunity later on to re-establish dedicated funding for biking and walking when the House and Senate reconcile the two versions of the legislation. As always, it is only with your help that we are going to be able to make progress on this. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the office at (617) 542-2453 or email Advocacy@Massbike.org.