Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Federal Transportation Bill Threatens Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding
Posted on May 22, 2012 by Shayne

Congress is conferring on the next Federal Transportation Bill, and bicycle and pedestrian funding is still at stake. In the Senate transportation bill, programs that fund bicycle and pedestrian funding are preserved and improved, continuing to fund projects that benefit bicyclist and pedestrians. To contrast, the bill from the House of Representatives repeals programs that fund bicycle and pedestrian projects, and places the priority on our highway network. Federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian has been used in every congressional district in Pennsylvania, and has funded hundreds of projects that have improved conditions for bicycles and pedestrians.

We do not want to halt the progress that has been made in the past two decades. Chances are, your favorite bike path was partly funded with federal funding. Many communities have benefited from sidewalk replacement projects funded with federal dollars. In more recent years, the funds have been used to make walking and biking to school safer, and will have lifelong benefits for the children that attend schools that participated in the Safe Routes to Schools program.

Pennsylvania Walks and Bikes has a resource to help you learn which projects in your community have benefited from federal transportation dollars. If you want to see more of these projects; if you have benefited from better sidewalks, safer bike paths, and healthier children, tell your representative in congress.

Pennsylvania is well represented on the House Transportation Committee by Congressmen Bill Shuster, Lou Barletta, Patrick Meehan, Tim Holden, Jason Altmire; and also well represented in the conference committee by Representative Bill Shuster.

Congressman Shuster has not been supportive of preserving bicycle and pedestrian funding, and has been very open about his belief that the federal transportation bill should focus on our highway system. We do not want to see the progress towards a more walkable and bikeable Pennsylvania come to a halt. 

We enjoy the benefits of these programs, and we do not want to see the end. Let your representative know that walkable and bikeable communities are important. Let them know that we want to continue to improve Pennsylvania, not stop it with a flat.