Federal Trail Funding May Be Eliminated...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    LCI #1853
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    Aug 2007

    Federal Trail Funding May Be Eliminated...

    This has been brewing over the past week, but came to a head today when Rep. Mica revealed the general plan for his version of the transportation reauthorization bill (copy available at http://www.bikeleague.org/news/070711_mica_proposal.pdf , it makes some "interesting" reading).

    If the bill goes forward as proposed, there will be no public funding for anything save traditional freeways and highways for cars and trucks... completely ignoring the more than one-third of Americans who cannot drive or do not have access to an automobile. Here in Arkansas, these monies paid for the River Trail system, the Big Dam Bridge and Two Rivers Bridge, the Womble and Syllamo epic MTB trails, as well as all the connections in between that make it a little more pleasant and a lot safer to walk or bike down to the grocery store or to work, as well as for exercise and recreation. If Mr. Mica and his buddy Senator Inhofe have their way, all that will be gone. No Complete Streets, no Safe Routes to School, no bike trails, you should be getting the picture.

    There will likely be more of these alerts floating around; feel free to pass it on, and please take a little time this evening to fill the ears of your favorite congressperson and their staff... I'll pass on more information as it becomes available.


    From: League of American Bicyclists
    Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 2:18 PM
    Subject: Bicycle and pedestrian funding in danger!

    Lawmakers threaten to end Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Rec Trails Programs. Take Action!

    Contact your Senators and Representative today!

    Key Congressional leaders are attacking Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational trails and are taking steps to cut off dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking.

    House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced today that his transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourages states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.” Chairman Mica’s statement that these programs remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs, they are effectively eliminated.

    Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’ This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking. However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

    Help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue funding for these important bicycling and walking programs.

    Need some good facts to bolster your argument? Read on:

    Not in the federal interest? Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the US – even as funding for biking and walking projects only accounts for 1.5% of the federal transportation budget. That is more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 40 billion walking trips a year, including trips to work, school, shopping and for recreation and tourism.

    Frivolous? Two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths are on federally funded highways. One-third of children’s traffic deaths happen when children are walking or bicycling and are struck by cars. Bicycling and walking programs build sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways—improving accessibility and saving lives.

    The Facts

    Biking and walking are important forms of transportation, and funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is a very efficient use of federal transportation dollars. Portland, OR built 300 miles of bike lanes and trails for the cost of one mile of highway.

    These projects create jobs and build local economies. Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building road-only projects per million dollars spent. Cities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects turn downtowns into destinations, and capitalize on increased business activity.

    Eliminating the 1.5% of transportation funding spent on bike/ped would have no meaningful impact on the federal budget, but instead, decreases transportation options for American families in a time of rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.

    Why Act Now? Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak. We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes. Let’s make sure that funding for biking and walking programs don’t disappear for many years.

    We need every Senator to tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe that bicycling and walking are vital parts of our transportation system, and that there must be dedicated funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and trails to ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians are safe. And we need every Representative in the House to tell Chairman Mica the same.

    Please contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY to tell them that bicycling and walking are a critical part of a safe and equitable transportation system. Ask them to tell Representative Mica and Senators Boxer and Inhofe that a federal transportation bill must continue dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.

    Thanks to our friends at the League of American Bicyclists, you can use the LAB's "CapWiz" Action Center (making it easy for them to make contact) at : http://capwiz.com/lab/utr/1/LUQLQDFC...CWU/7104034941.

    This application will provide a form letter (which you can modify to add your own words) to e-mail your Representative (based on your ZIP code) and both Senators Boozman and Pryor in one swoop.

    Another means to help respond to this crisis is the action alert from PeopleForBikes.org, which works in the same manner, with a slightly different letter: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/page/s...is-in-jeopardy
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    (with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    While I feel your pain, if it ain't necessary then our tax dollars shouldn't be paying for it. But it would be a lot better if they cut the rest of the BS out of the budget. Maybe a better way would be to have people sentenced to community service out building trails...hmm.

  3. #3
    JmZ is offline
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    Jan 2004
    IMBA's fighting for their (and our) slice of the pie. That is politics. I can't fault them for it either.

    What programs are worthy of our tax dollars? That is something that Congress still can't figure out. I do think that funding trails and getting people working on them, and encouraging people to exercise are things that I can support much easier than some of the other things that Congress has, and will spend tax dollars on.

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Sadly, most American's are fat and don't walk or ride bikes. Politicians know that, so that's the best place to cut funding and get the fewest complaints.

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