Federal Transportation Bill
The US Congress is hard at work crafting the next federal transportation authorization bill. We need your support today to help ensure that this bill benefits cyclists. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support key bills for enhancing cycling safety and creating a strong vision for smart transportation policies that support cycling.
Senate: Co-Sponsor Safe Routes to Schools and the Transportation Policy and Planning Act
On May 21, 2009, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC) , Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Susan Collins (R-ME) joined together to introduce the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) Reauthorization Act (S. 1156). S. 1156 would expand funding for SRTS to $600 million per year, include high schools, simplify regulatory compliance to improve project delivery, and strengthen research and evaluation. We need assistance from all Safe Routes to School supporters and advocates to ensure that this legislation is ultimately included in the next transportation bill.
Introduced by Senator Rockefeller (D-WV). The Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009 (S.1036) establishes national purposes and goals for federal surface transportation activities and programs and create a national surface transportation plan. While the bill does not explicitly set targets for increasing biking, walking and transit, it does have the goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.
Click here to locate your local representative and contact them to let them know your support.
Tell Representatives to Support National Transportation Objectives
The US is in desperate need of an overarching strategy that determines when, how, and where transportation dollars are spent. As of now, the US has no firm plan. No vision. No national goals for what should be accomplished with the billions of dollars in taxpayer money spent on transportation each year.
That can all change with HR 2724, the National Transportation Objectives Act of 2009, introduced in the US House of Representatives by Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Jay Inslee (D-WA). This bill - accompanied by a similar bill in the Senate - sets a bold new vision for federal transportation policy in order to address the current and future needs of our economy, energy, environment and health. The objectives include:
- Reduce vehicles miles traveled by 16 percent.
- Triple walking, biking, and public transit use.
- Reduce transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent.
But their bill needs the support of many more representatives to become the law of the land. Contact your representative to let them know you support this bill.
National bike advocacy groups like America Bikes, the League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Transportation for America, and Rails to Trails Conservancy are hard at work to ensure that the next transportation bill greatly improves federal policy and funding for bikes. To achieve better cycling in the US, the bill must:
- Include a Federal Complete Streets Policy
Ensure that ALL transportation projects built with federal dollars would be required to safely accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, the elderly, and other road users.
- Build Active Transportation Systems
Focus significantly increased investment on completing seamless networks of sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails, especially in cities, towns, and suburban areas.
- Provide Fair Share for Safety
Require highway safety funds to be spent in proportion to fatalities. Currently, bicyclists and pedestrians account nationally for 13 percent of the fatalities on our roadways, but receive less than one percent of safety funding.
- Promote Bicycling and Walking
Elevate the role of bicycling and walking within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Ensure accountability in transportation funding by including tools and research to measure progress in increasing the share of trips taken by bicycling and walking.
For more details on the national bike advocacy platform please click here.
How have federal transportation bills made an impact where you live?
Past transportation bills have been good for cyclists in San Diego County. The Safe Routes to Schools program, which was created in the last transportation bill in 2005, allows SDCBC to provide safe biking and walking education to children, and helps to build sidewalks and safer roadway crossings near schools. Transportation Enhancements, a program created under the 1991 transportation bill, has directed millions of dollars towards trails and other bike projects around the region.
Let your Voice be Heard
As national advocacy organizations pound the halls of Congress with the active transportation message, local organizations like SDCBC are working hard to make their jobs easier. By educating the general public on the benefits of bicycling, and by showing local elected officials the benefits that past investments in biking and walking have brought to their constituents, we help ensure that our elected representatives understand the importance of bicycling and walking to those they represent. Help us fight for you by joining or donating today!
Active Transportation 2010
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation aims to build on the success of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program in SAFETEA-LU. The goal: empowering dozens of communities to each advocate for $50 million in federal funds to make focused investments in infrastructure and programs to shift a portion of automobile trips to walking and biking. The campaign aims to double the federal investment in active transportation in the next reauthorization. San Diego County has completed case statements on how such funding would be used to improve biking conditions.