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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It’s so much worse than we thought.

Today, the House releases its transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. We expected the bill to be bad news for biking and walking, but we didn’t think it would go so far as to reverse all progress we’ve made over the past 20 years.

With a vote coming this Thursday, please take action TODAY — Tell your Representative to preserve biking and walking in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Click here to contact your Representative through the League of American Bicyclists Action Center.

House leadership is exerting pressure to completely cut bicycling and walking out of transportation. Lawmakers seem to have gone through the bill, line-by-line, to gut programs that make streets safer. The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act:
  • 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
  • Removes requirements for states to build bridges with safe access for pedestrians and bicycles
  • Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs
There’s still a chance to save biking and walking. This week in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) plans to stand up to leadership by offering an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Rep. Petri can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts his or her Representative today. 

This is as urgent as it gets. Even if we win this amendment, there will be a long road ahead. But if we lose here, we risk losing decades of progress.

If members of the Transportation Committee are going to stand up to House leadership by supporting biking and walking, they need to know their constituents are behind them. Please contact Congress TODAY and ask your Representative to preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking.

Please forward this action alert to your members and supporters. Pass it along to all your local partners — particularly high-level contacts like mayors, school board members, and business leaders — and ask them to weigh in, too. Below you'll find sample text to send to your Representative. 

Thank you in advance for your action on this urgent issue. And thank you for all you’re doing to preserve biking and walking.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at (202) 445-4415.

Jeff Miller

Dear [Representative],

Will you vote to support the Petri Amendment to preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking in the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act?

Both Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School give communities in our district access to resources to build facilities that keep people safe on our streets. These two programs reach down to the community level, providing local governments with the certainty that there will be funds available for projects important to our cities and towns. It is essential that the Committee vote to save funding for local biking and walking projects.

Biking and walking are critical to keeping our communities moving with healthy, safe, and accessible transportation options.
  • Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips, but biking and walking projects receive less than 1.5% of federal transportation dollars.
  • Two out of three pedestrian deaths take place on roads built with federal funding.  Ensuring funds for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways make roads safer for everyone and prevent unnecessary deaths.
  • When town centers are biking and walking friendly, business and economic development improves.
  • Biking and walking projects create more jobs, per dollar spent, than road-only projects. 

Please vote to preserve funding for biking and walking in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday by voting for the Petri Amendment.

I look forward to hearing back from you about your position and actions. Thank you for standing up for me on this important issue.


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