Monday, March 14, 2011

FDOT contender: Bike work should wait

Monday, March 14, 2011
From the Spokes 'n Folks blog by our fellow advocates in Miami, the Green Mobility Network:

One of three finalists to be Florida's next secretary of transportation testified today that in tough times no federal money should be spent on sidewalks or bicycle facilities. He was Anath Prasad, assistant secretary for engineering and operations in the Florida Department of Transportation, and the highest-ranking Florida witness at U.S. Rep. John Mica's Orlando-area hearing on reauthorization of the nation's highway and transit programs.

This is pretty depressing. It's not like the 1.5 percent of the transportation budget currently going to bike-pedestrian matters would build even one mile of interstate highway.

Nobody from the general public got to testify today. Besides Prasad, the invited witnesses included Frank Bruno, Volusia County Commission chairman; Bob Burleson, president of the Florida Transportation Builders Association; Randy Whitfield, staff director of the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization; Geoffrey Yarema, a partner in the law firm Nossaman Guthner Knox Elliot; and Richard P. Lawless, president of U.S.-Japan High-Speed Rail.

Here's more about the hearing, from the Orlando Sentinel.

Spokes 'n' Folks
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Anti-bike testimony challenged

We've learned today that a state official's anti-bike testimony at a congressional hearing on Monday Frank Bruno did not go unchallenged. Frank Bruno, chairman of the Volusia County Commission, spoke up for bicycle projects during his testimony to Rep. John Mica's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Bruno said, in part:

Volusia County recognizes the importance of providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities as a means of expanding the transportation opportunities for residents who, either by choice or by circumstance, do not use an automobile. Volusia County supports the intent of Federal Transportation Authorization Legislation with respect to creating an integrated, intermodal transportation system which provides travelers with a choice of transportation modes while reducing the demand and maintenance of the highway and local road systems.

The Volusia ECHO program, a voter-approved tax designed to enhance environmental, cultural, historic and outdoor recreational activities has augmented the County’s trail program to the tune of $1 million annually. Construction has started on a 5.7 mile segment of the East Central Regional Rail Trail. This $1.8 million project uses ECHO funds paired with a federal grant, and will help our trail system grow to an expected 27 miles by the end of this year.

For Bruno's full written testimony, click here.

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