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Bicycle Funding on the Chopping Block in the Senate

This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, which in reality is less than 2 percent of total transportation dollars, will be spent on bicycling and walking. In 2012 that figure might be a big fat zero.

In the next few days, Senator Coburn (R-OK) will ask Congress to eliminate the federal Transportation Enhancements program – the primary funding source for the past 20 years for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and trails. This isn’t safe or smart; it’s not good for the economy or the environment; this is bad health policy and bad transportation policy.

Even though bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects and cutting enhancements won’t impact the deficit — the money just won’t be spent on bicycling and walking — some Members of Congress want to force us backwards to a 1950s highway-only mindset: as if oil embargoes, congestion, smog, the obesity epidemic and climate change never happened.

Take Action! Contact your Senator and urge them to support continued funding for biking and walking. Don’t let them take away this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.

Email to Senator

I urge you to oppose any move to eliminate the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program and to support a clean extension of the SAFETEA-LU.

The TE program, along with other vital programs that support non-motorized transportation choices such as the Recreational Trails and Safe Routes to Schools programs, has dramatically expanded transportation options and improved traffic safety in communities across the country. This would simply not have happened without these programs and I ask that you support the continuation of dedicated Federal funding for bicycling and walking programs in any extension of SAFETEA-LU and the next authorization of Federal transportation programs.

Bicycling projects create jobs, in fact, according to the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), bicycle and pedestrian projects alone create 11 jobs per million and 10 jobs per million respectively vs. less than 8 jobs per million created by road only projects.  These projects also generate economic activity for a very low up-front cost, offering tremendous returns on investment. In this economic climate, Congress should be looking for just this kind of program to support – and should certainly not be thinking about eliminating them.  Bicycling and walking also has the added benefit of providing an effective means to address our national energy, environmental, and public health challenges and should be seriously considered in our national transportation policy.

Thank you for supporting continued dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.