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Eocyclist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The league of American Bicyclists sent this e-mail this morning. Funding for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure is at risk.
Click here to go to the LAB web site and send an e-mail to your representative.



Ask Your Representative to Preserve Biking and Walking


Transportation Committee votes on biking and walking funding next week


On Thursday, February 2, we expect the House Transportation Committee to vote on the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, a bill that eliminates crucial funds for biking and walking. As a Member of the Committee, your representative is in a key position to save dedicated funding for biking and walking. Please contact them today and ask them to vote to preserve biking and walking.

The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, the long awaited multi year Transportation bill, eliminates the two largest programs that fund biking and walking infrastructure�Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Without these programs, communities all over the country will lose resources to build the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that make biking and walking safe and accessible in your community.

We can�t let that happen.

That�s why we�re working to introduce an amendment that will preserve funding for biking and walking. During Thursday�s vote, your representative could be the key to making sure that this amendment passes in the Transportation Committee. Will you contact them today to ask that they vote to preserve funding for biking and walking in the transportation bill?




Tell them:
  • Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips, but only 1.5 percent of federal funding.
  • Two out of three pedestrian deaths take place on roads built with federal funding. Ensuring funds for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways help end preventable deaths and make roads safer for everyone.
  • When town centers are biking and walking friendly, business and economic development improves.
Thank you for all that you do to keep bicycling and walking safe and accessible.
 

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Done, thanks for getting this out there. I would ask that everyone on this forum send this message and post on here that they did. I also posted this link on FB. We're all in this together.
 

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Well to me that seems like a local issue. If a community wants to spend its cash that way, and in some communities it would make far more sense than others, then good for them. Why should someone in Montana pay for a bike lane in a major city?? If a community values a sidewalk, the the tax base should be willing to pay for their own sidewalks. I don't know how they came up with a number that bikes make up 12% of all trips, but its sure not representative what the activity is here. I'm not necessarily against bike trails, but local control will make sure that its not a bridge to no where. If its of value to the local community, they will take pride and see that it stays maintained.
 

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Eocyclist
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well to me that seems like a local issue. If a community wants to spend its cash that way, and in some communities it would make far more sense than others, then good for them. Why should someone in Montana pay for a bike lane in a major city??
Transportation Enhancement funding is locally determined and it covers a lot more than bike lanes and MUPs ... and our friends in Montana used a little over $6,072,000 in TE funds in 2009

Transportation Enhancement funds are distributed to local areas for a wide variety of local projects. To be eligible for TE funds, a project must fall into one of 12 categories and be related to surface transportation. I will list the 12 areas here, but please check this link for details of what is included in each category. The 12 areas are:
1. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
2. Pedestrian and bicycle safety and education activities
3. Acquisition of scenic or historic easements and sites
4. Scenic or historic highway programs including tourist and welcome centers.
5. Landscaping and scenic beautification
6. Historic preservation
7. Rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities
8. Conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails
9. Inventory, control, and removal of outdoor advertising
10. Archaeological planning & research
11. Environmental mitigation of runoff pollution and provision of wildlife connectivity
12. Establishment of transportation museums
Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure constitute a small portion of the activities supported by TE funds. More to the point, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure constitute a very small portion of the total allocated TE funds. IIRC the bike and ped allocation runs 3 to 5% of total TE funds.

The problem with the bill currently in committee is that all bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure funding are eliminated. Costs certainly have to be cut, but one would hope for a more equitable distribution of cuts, e.g. 10 % across ALL categories rather than 100% of bike and ped funds.

Click here to see the TE funded projects for your state ( The search facility doesn't calculate a total, but you can copy and paste it into a MS Excel workbook to add things up. TE covers a wide range of projects.
 

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Eocyclist
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cuts to Bike/Ped funding worse than expected

Below is today's action call from the League of American Bicyclists. The Transportation bill is out of committee looking worse than expected. Please contact your US House Representative and ask him/her to support the amendment described below.




House

Bill Reverses Decades of Progress on Bike/Ped
Take Action!​



It’s so much worse than we thought. Today, the House releases its transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Act. You are receiving this action item because your Member is on the transportation committee. Please click here to contact them.

When we contacted you last week, we knew the bill would be bad news for biking and walking. But we didn’t think it would go so far as to completely cut every reference to bicycling and walking out of the federal transportation policy.




House leadership is pressing to eliminate bicycling and walking in the Transportation bill:
  • 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
  • Allows states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles
  • Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs
  • Eliminates language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled”
But we can still save biking and walking in this bill. This week in the Transportation Committee, Representative Petri (R-WI) will stand up for bicycling and walking by offering an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Mr. Petri can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts their Representative on the Transportation Committee again today to urge them to vote YES on the Petri amendment!

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

We know we are asking a lot of you and we thank you for all you’re doing to preserve biking and walking.
 

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And if we don't make cuts, we will lose the country. We are already at 100%+ of the GDP. The country the last 4 years spends a trillion more than it takes in. The 16 trillion in debt is only the starting point. With medicare, medicaid and social security there is over 100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Pay that off with $5 trillion or so a year income??? I don't think so. There will be no taxing your way out of that one. To do that you would have to tax at 100% of everything bought, sold and or created of everyone regardless of income level for the next 10 years and that would be if no one quit working when they didn't see any reward for their work.

We already have a right to something called the travel lane. Education of the drivers would be a far better way to use resources in short supply, and those do not have to come from the government. No way the entire country can have bike lanes to everywhere. At some point we MUST share the road.

What we can do is teaching riders especially kids, ways to safely use the roads as they exist. One thing you can be sure is that when a kid rides a bike, when they get old enough to drive they will understand and almost always give more attention to cyclist. If allowed to stay on the X Box, a cyclist is just in the way.
 

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Eocyclist
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mark,
I agree with much of what you said.

And if we don't make cuts, we will lose the country. We are already at 100%+ of the GDP. The country the last 4 years spends a trillion more than it takes in. …
We do need to make serious spending cuts. If we have to cut costs by 20%, then let’s do it. The problem is that the proposed transportation bill disproportionately affects bike and ped funding. It eliminates all funding for bike and ped projects. There is no reason why the cuts cannot be equitably allocated across all current classes of transportation projects.

We already have a right to something called the travel lane. Education of the drivers would be a far better way to use resources in short supply, and those do not have to come from the government. No way the entire country can have bike lanes to everywhere. At some point we MUST share the road. What we can do is teaching riders especially kids, ways to safely use the roads as they exist. One thing you can be sure is that when a kid rides a bike, when they get old enough to drive they will understand and almost always give more attention to cyclist.
I agree that most lanes are travel lanes for the experienced or educated cyclist; that educating both drivers and cyclists is a cost effective way to keep cyclists safe on the road or bike facility; and that there is no way we can build bike lanes and side paths to take us everywhere.

Training children is a good long term approach. Short term, a lot of adults could benefit from bike safety training, too.

I don’t see the private sector ever funding bicycle related education for drivers and cyclists. It is a transportation issue and a proper function of government, be it local, state, or federal. The feds are currently funding transportation projects with state and local participation, including those with education components like Safe Routes to Schools.

All funding for Safe Routes is eliminated in the new bill. Also eliminated is language that enables traffic calming in highway safety improvement programs; the requirement that rumble strips not adversely affect safety and mobility of cyclists, pedestrians, or the disabled; the use of transit funding for bike parking, bike access to transit, and bike sharing; the requirement for states to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in bridge projects.

I believe it is in the national best interest to encourage people to replace trips by auto with trips by bike, foot, and public transport where reasonable. I am not a big fan of most bike specific infrastructure, but I don’t think we are going to encourage much of a transportation mode shift without providing some bike lanes and side paths for cyclists and sidewalks for peds.

We should make all the cuts necessary to reduce debt and balance the budget, but make them equitably across the board. Just don’t eliminate all funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
 

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Frankly we may not be that far from choosing from medicare and the entire dept of transportation, energy, commerce and education. I can see a number of private sector companies that can get involved to help with the training because its in their best interest. Trek, major bike chains ect all have a vested interest in seeing more people ride. When the adults with a new bike, guess what you teach a driver too. Working through the local schools in drivers ed over time you will make a big difference, particularly if you have already dealt with the issue when the kids was on a bike. I bet you could find a direct relationship between kids that ride bikes as a kid, and young drivers with the fewest wrecks. On a personal level if you choose to use a bike as your primary transportation, that's your business, your life, your decision and of no concern of mine. Expecting large numbers of others to do likewise is about as much of a fantasy is that there will be no more war. Probably not going to happen if you spent 100 trillion on bike lanes.

For the general public, the bike will never really be considered a means of transportation the way it is in most places in Europe. The country is just too large. Too many people live too far from urban areas to make it a viable option for so many. Is it something that can play a small part in urban areas? Yes but its a very limited number of people that can make significant use of a bike for transportation. It will be an impossible sell to those paying taxes that a bike lane is a good investment on the federal level. It's really hard to make a case for someone struggling to get by in rural Alabama to pay for them to pony up to pay for a bike lane in CA. Now if CA wants a bike lane and is willing to pay for it with state funds, good for them. Local communities are even better because there a consensus can be built as to their value, how much they are willing to pay, where they need to be, and the commitment to maintain them long term are all required to make that investment more than another bridge to no where.

I appreciate the passion that a cyclist has for the sport, and I don't doubt that they have the best of intentions. In fact 30 years ago it might have even been successful. Yet at 53 I know I am in the hosed zone. I am too young to be able to collect now, too old to be able to adapt, and a system that will not be able to pay what has been promised when its my turn. Expecting bike lanes is only going to create a resistance to projects that might be effective and practical with the limited resources that will be available. Adding cycling to drivers ed, no not just teaching them about passing cyclists, but teaching them the rules of the road on a bike before they ever see the steering wheel of a car would serve many purposes. If they can afford the expense of a car, adding a few bikes to the training process shouldn't be that big of a deal compared to the millions one would spend on infrastructure projects. We are going to have to think a bit differently now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Mark,

I think we've come to a point here where we just have to agree to disagree.

In any case, it's over for the moment. The Petri amendment, which would have put Transportation Enhancements back in the bill, was defeated by two votes.

Details at LAB website
 

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Well nothing wrong with disagreement, but I try not to be disagreeable when I disagree. :) That amendment may surface again, and attached the right legislation might pass. Lots of things far dumber and far more wasteful have, but its my opinion that part of the problem not part of the solution. That isn't even to imply that this project was dumb or wasteful, but in my opinion its priority is definitely down the list on what needs to be done first. Its one thing to drive an expensive sports car when you have a few million in the bank, a house that's paid, no debt on credit cards, and you paid for the car in cash. It is another to drive that car when you are underwater on your home, 2 months behind on the payments, maxed out credit cards that the cash advance from one is paying the minimums on the others, and the sports car is leased.

I fully understand the dollar amount for this type of spending is small in the big picture, but a couple of million here and a few million there and pretty soon it adds up to real money.
 

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Two skinny J's
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Dear Mr. Rola:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding funding for biking and walking programs during the discussions about federal highway and surface transportation legislation in Congress. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I value your views on the important issues facing our Commonwealth and the Nation.*
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As you may know, authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund was set to expire on March 31, 2012.* Rep. John Mica of Florida introduced H.R. 4281, the Surface Transportation Extension Act, on March 28, 2012. This legislation extended surface highway spending authority through June 30, 2012, providing for highway program and mass transit funding at FY11 levels as well as various highway safety programs. H.R. 4281 passed the House of Representatives on March 29, 2012 by a vote of 266 - 158. This legislation subsequently passed the Senate on the same day and was signed into law by the President on March 30.*
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On April 18, 2012, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, with my support, by a vote of 293-127. The bill would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs through September 30, 2012. Passage of H.R. 4348 paves the way for a conference committee between the House and Senate to negotiate the final version of the surface transportation reauthorization bill. Although I will not serve as a member of the House/Senate Conference Committee, please be assured that I will keep your views about biking and walking programs in mind as the House and Senate work on the conference report.*
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You may be interested to know that I am a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus, which is a bipartisan group of congressmen and women working to increase awareness of cycling's importance as a means of transportation and recreation as well as to ensure that policies take into account the unique needs of the cycling community.
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Thank you again for sharing your views and opinions with me.* I am committed to serving you to the best of my abilities.* If I can ever be of assistance to you or your family, please do not hesitate to call me at (202) 225-4261 or contact me online at: www.wittman.house.gov.
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Sincerely,

Robert J. Wittman
Member of Congress
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Please Note:* This mailing is sent from an automated account and is unattended.* If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter or submit additional correspondence please visit www.wittman.house.gov
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Eocyclist
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice note from your Congressman!

Here's more info from the LAB web site including the names of the committee members.

UPDATE: Senate and House Announce Transportation Bill Conferees
On Tuesday, the Senate released the names of the lawmakers from that chamber who will sit on the conference committee for the transportation authorization bill. The committee, made of up Senators and Representatives from both parties, will have to negotiate the differences between the Senate’s MAP-21 and the modified extension of the current transportation authorization, SAFETEA-LU, passed by the House last Wednesday.

UPDATE: On Wednesday April 25, the House named its conferees.
 
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