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Friday, April 15, 2011

MORE Rescissions of Bike Funding

This week brings a flurry of alerts to protect and advance biking and walking. But the biggest and most important fight will be next week regarding federal rescissions.



In this next round of rescissions, biking and walking could lose hundreds of millions of dollars and we want to make sure you save some of your energy and bandwidth to take action. The alerts and issues include:

  • Safe Routes to School: Yesterday, our partners at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership released an alert asking supporters to help secure co-sponsors for new federal Safe Routes legislation. We hope you will encourage your U.S. Senator to sign on, but you do have a four-week window on this particular effort.
  • AASHTO letter: Today, the League of American Bicyclists is releasing an alert about the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) letter to the Federal Highway Administration that seeks to weaken federal policy for bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Feel free to join with League efforts in putting pressure on your state DOT to reject AASHTO's letter and be advised that all America Bikes partners, including the Alliance, are sending a letter directly to FHWA and AASHTO with our strong condemnation.
  • Rescissions: The highest priority with the most urgency will be defending massive amounts of funding for biking and walking in the next round of rescissions. On that issue, we will need you to be prepared to take action, targeting your governor, NEXT WEEK.

As you know, the last round of rescissions hit hard and disproportionately for bike/ped programs: 44 percent of the money sent back to Washington from state DOTs came from Transportation Enhancements and CMAQ, even though those two programs constitute only 7 percent of federal transportation funding. In some states, DOTs handed back several years' worth of TE funding in one blow. (See attachment.) We can't afford to take a hit like that again and it’s critical that we mobilize to prevent it.  



We expect to get details from the USDOT by the middle of next week and, once we do, we’ll send you suggested language you can use and the collective strategy with our national partners. It is most likely we will be asking you to circulate an immediate alert to your members, asking them to contact your state’s governor and press him/her to make sure the state DOT doesn’t disproportionately raid money from programs that fund bike/ped projects. If you have the capacity for additional work, a meeting with your governor or high-ranking state DOT officials would also be helpful.



We understand that some of you have strong and positive relationships with your state DOTs and/or governors and understand your local politic nuances. But, as we learned in the last round of rescissions, no state is safe. We strongly urge every organization to be as proactive and engaged in this effort as possible. If you do NOT want this alert circulating in your state, or want to strategize with us a bit, please let us know and we will try to coordinate with other coalition members of America Bikes. However, some spillover may occur.



Again, we will be in contact with more details as soon as they are available, but I wanted to make your aware of this critical issue with some advance notice. To make sure you’re getting the latest, be sure to sign up for our Federal Policy Call next Thursday, April 21, at 2 p.m. EDT. We’ll be discussing all these important topics, with insight from our partners at America Bikes.



If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Caron Whitaker, Campaign Manager for America Bikes at Caron@AmericaBikes.org.



Thank you for your partnership and action on these important issues,



Jeff Miller, President/CEO

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