The past two weeks saw a flurry of action on Capitol Hill as federal transportation funding was debated in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Both chambers of Congress were unable to pass the Transportation Appropriations bill.
Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution by the end of September to avoid shutting down the U.S. Department of Transportation and keep transportation dollars flowing. And with only 9 legislative days on the calendar for September, it is unlikely that Congress will pass a Transportation Appropriations bill that features a carefully reevaluated spending plan. The most likely result is that we’ll will get a continuation of the 2012 spending plan.
Throughout the debates in each Chamber, there was a chance that multiple Congresspeople would introduce amendments that would eliminate federal funding for Transportation Alternatives, which funds programs like Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails.
We sent out two action alerts and asked you to contact both of Massachusetts’ U.S. Senators and your specific U.S. Representative and ask that they vote against any amendment that would eliminate federal bike funding.
Our Congressional delegation heard you loud and clear! Both Senator Warren and Senator Markey told us that they heard from many of you, and that they would vote against amendments that would eliminate Transportation Alternatives. We are confident that our House members were similarly supportive. Keeping this federally funded program intact is critical because this is money that can be used to educate children about bicycle and pedestrian safety, improve sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths near schools, and build and maintain off-road paths and trails for everyone.
Our Senators and Representatives once again demonstrated their commitment to bicycling and walking, and we can collectively thank them for standing firm to support active living!
We will keep you updated once the Senate and House restart the process in September. Thank you again for your support–we would not be nearly as successful in our advocacy work without your help!