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Transportation Bill Harmful to Cyclist and Pedestrian Health

interactive features on Transportation for America
Interactive features on Transportation for America

Are you a cyclist or pedestrian who opts for public transportation instead of owning a car? Check out where your tax money is going in the transportation area. The advocacy group, Transportation for America, reports on recent bills in the House and Senate that will determine where our taxes are spent.

To recap how the legislative process works, the House creates a version of a bill, in this case, a transportation bill. The Senate creates a version of the bill. The differing versions go to a conference committee that pounds out a compromise version that both chambers can live with. Lots of negotiation goes on in the conference committee. If you want to have your say in how your taxes are spent, contacting your elected representatives while they are figuring out who cares about the details of a bill is a way to maximize your influence. Here’s what’s going on with the Transportation bill.

Late last week the House released an outline of their transportation bill and the news was not encouraging. The proposal would cut total transportation funding by one-third, and it would kill the tiny slice of dedicated funding for safer walking and biking.  Public transportation wouldn’t be the only service to suffer. Infrastructure repairs like  repairing our crumbling roads and bridges would be put off.

There is time to let your Senators know whether you think public transportation, safer biking and walking streets, and bridges that aren’t a risk to cross are important. Tell the Senate that you’re counting on them to write a better bill than the House.

Transportation for American says the better bill has a good chance in the Senate. A Senate committee is poised to release their version soon — perhaps even this week —so your power as a citizen lobbyist is strong now. Just email your senators using the link above, and add your voice for safer transportation.

Here are some factoids for you to consider. You can mention these to your Senator.

  • 12 percent of our bridges need repair;
  • 50 percent of our roads are rated below “good” condition;
  • 47,700 people were killed while walking in the last 10 years;
  • Unemployment in the construction industry is in the double-digits; and
  • More than 150 public transportation systems are cutting service, raising fares or laying off workers.

Consider whether you think that it will help you and your community if  investment in infrastructure and transportation is cut by a third. The window to pass a transportation bill this year won’t be open very long. It’s critical that the Senate puts forward a bill soon that addresses these shortcomings in the House version. Fight for your block and community by being a citizen lobbyist for safe and effective transporation. Find out the details and weigh in now.

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