My goal is to complete four challenges before August 8, and I decided to "write a letter advocating for bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, bike rack, etc) to your alderman/council representative, mayor, or a local business."
Recently, there has been some hubbub about House Transportation Chairman John Mica's (R-FL) statement that his transportation bill will not include dedicated funding for bicycling and walking. What the hell, Mica?
This is not necessarily the venue for me to get political, but I think it is pretty obvious that I see the value in Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program. I decided to write my letter advocating for Federal funding of bicycle infrastructure. This isn't exactly what LGRAB asked for, but I think it is still in the spirit of the challenge.
I don't have comprehensive knowledge about all of the Federal, State, or even local initiatives, But that's okay, because I have bikewalktwincities.org and bikemn.org to do the work for me! I composed my letter, below, using their text and data.
Dear House Representative Keith Ellison, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken,
I was recently disappointed to hear House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced 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.
In addition to Mica's transportation bill proposal, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’ This is in direct opposition to Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking.
Please protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Continue funding for these important bicycling and walking programs, and stand up to those that wish to eliminate dedicated funding for biking and walking.
These facts are from Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, BikeMN.org:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Please tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe and Chairman Mica 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.
Thank you for acting on my concerns,
Please feel free to send this to your House Representatives and Senators, in your name!