Friday, March 2, 2012

We've just won a big battle for biking and walking in the federal transportation bill!

Majority Leader Harry Reid has incorporated much of the Ben Cardin/Thad Cochran amendment into the so-called “manager’s mark” of the Senate transportation bill. The move means that the amendment’s provisions letting local governments directly access funding from popular bicycle and pedestrian programs will be included in the bill without having to come up for a separate vote.

Without the Cardin-Cochran amendment, cities and towns looking to invest in safer streets for walking and biking would have been left at the mercy of their state DOTs, which could have prevented any bike/ped funding from being spent. The adopted provisions would put funding directly in the hands of local agencies, making it harder for state highway departments to funnel resources away from walking, biking, and complete streets.

The full Senate bill, including the Cardin/Cochran provisions, could face a cloture vote as early as Tuesday.

Thank you to our Washington partners, Alliance for Biking and Walking, America Bikes, and Transportation for America for their intense work on this over the past month, to the advocates around the country and in Lee County that have pressed for this amendment, and a special thank you to our County Commissioners and the Lee MPO Board for writing letters to Senators Nelson and Rubio in support of this amendment.  Our voices really do matter!

Call Senator Nelson (202-224-5274) and Senator Rubio (202-224-3041) to thank them for including the Cardin-Cochran amendment in the Senate transportation bill.

We are one step closer to a federal transportation law that makes streets safer for all users. 

While this is a big victory and a significant step forward, we still have a ways to go before it can become law. 

Your help will be critical in coming weeks to ensure passage of the Senate bill, to restore bicycle and pedestrian funding in the House, and to make sure any extension of current transportation law retains Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails.   Stay tuned to the BikeWalkLee blog for action alerts and updates!

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