WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN) Feb 2, 12:02 MT —Cycling advocates lost a battle Thursday morning as a majority of the members of the House transportation and infrastructure committee voted against an amendment that would restore dedicated funding for biking and walking in the House transportation bill.
The amendment failed by two votes, with 27 members voting yea, 29 voting no.
“We lost the vote, but we put up a damn good show,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, which mobilized its members to gain support for the Petri-Johnson-Lipinksy amendment. “It was important to put up a fight even if it didn’t succeed.”
Clarke said there was strong support for the amendment and that House leadership had to persuade other members to vote against it. “Other amendments were part of that negotiation,” he said. “We represent a serious issue and constituency and we made them jump through hoops to defeat it.”
What’s next? The House transportation bill—The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act—will make its way to the floor of the House in about two weeks, according to Clarke, where it will go through markup and a voting process.
He said the League and America Bikes have yet to decide on a strategy moving forward. But several options exist. They can try to introduce an amendment on the House floor or align with other groups who oppose the bill to stop it from advancing altogether.
“Without that provision, this is a very bad bill for cycling,” Clarke said.
If the bill passes the House, it would still need to be reconciled with the Senate’s version. Then the question of how to fund it remains. So it could potentially be a long road ahead for this legislation.
It’s unlikely that a new transportation bill gets passed by the end of March, when the current extension on the previous long-term law expires, however, Clarke said it’s still critical to stay involved in each step of the process.