14 July 2011

Funding for bicycling and walking is in jeopardy: speak out TODAY!

Your favorite road or trail network may soon be on the endangered species list. Join PeopleForBikes, the League of American Bicyclists, and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) in contacting your elected representatives TODAY and urge them not to cut these critical transportation, safety and recreational trails programs.

Last week, Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, outlined his plans for the new transportation bill and called for the elimination of dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, which he suggested, “do not serve a federal purpose.”

In the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma is leading a similar attack. Inhofe, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said that one of his top-three priorities for the next multi-year federal transportation bill is to eliminate “frivolous spending for bike trails.”

If Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe get their way, dedicated funding for three crucial programs -- Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails -- will be eliminated. We can't let this happen. Send a short email today to your members of Congress asking them to support ongoing, dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation bill.

Suggested Talking Points (courtesy of peopleforbikes.org):
  • The federal investment in biking and walking is cost-effective: 1.5 percent of transportation spending supports the 12 percent of all trips that are made on foot or bike.
  • Biking and walking need continuing, DEDICATED federal funding. If bike/ped programs are simply eligible for funding and the decisions are left to individual states, key programs will be decimated.
  • More than 4 billion bike trips were made in the U.S. last year—a record.
  • Portland, Oregon built a 300-mile network of bike lanes, multi-use trails and bike boulevards for $60 million—the cost of one mile of highway.
  • The federal investment in biking and walking supported more than 3,000 projects and programs in all 50 states last year. Reallocating this money to road construction would pay for less than 20 miles of new of new highway in a single location.
  • Investments in biking and walking provide tremendous bang for each buck. Bike infrastructure reduces road congestion and air pollution, improves personal health, and creates and supports good jobs.
Suggested cuts affect trail users as much as road users.

Why does this matter to mountain bikers?
According to IMBA, many of the at-risk federal programs directly help improve mountain biking in the United States. For example, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is incredibly valuable — no other federal funding source comes close to creating the trail opportunities that RTP puts on the ground in all 50 states. More than likely one of your favorite trails was funded in part by RTP.

Bicycling and walking are non-partisan issues. Thanks for taking five minutes to urge your Congressional representatives to continue dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, and standing up for cyclists on this important issue.

2 comments:

Chris said...

As a cyclist I am big on bike paths/trails, etc. I also understand what he was saying about it not being a federal issue. I would much rather my state handle my state's issues. No one likes pork, unless you are the recipient of course.

That being said, my city has a whopping 2 bike trails. Both were funded by the city, not even the state or county. I would like to see my city build more, but not at the expense of people in NY, CA, MI, etc. It shouldn't be their burden to bare.

I know a lot of people who are very pro-state's rights but get upset when federal funding is cut. It's silly sometimes.

I hope I don't get flamed for saying that. I am a bike commuter as well so my apologies to anyone I upset.

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