WASHINGTON, DC (BRAIN) Feb 9, 15:06 MT—U.S. bike advocacy groups are urging supporters to contact their representatives in Washington before next week's votes on a major transportation bill they say would gut federal spending for biking and walking projects.
"This is baffling," says Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, "given that the highway bills being debated in Congress right now claim to be about jobs, energy, and getting America moving."
The House transportation bill would eliminate funding for walking and biking projects altogether.
Bikes Belong, the League of American Cyclists, Adventure Cycling, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and America Bikes are among the groups urging members to contact their congressmen and urge them to vote down the House bill.
"It’s an awful bill and deserves defeat," Jim Sayer, Adventure Cycling's executive director, said in an email to members Thursday.
In the Senate, the current bill also eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking and allows states to opt out of safe streets programs. However, the Senate will consider an amendment to the bill that would allow local leaders to access federal funds for biking and walking projects before states reallocate the funds for other projects. The bike groups are urging members to contact their Senators to urge them to support the amendment, which is being sponsored by Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
The groups are sending urgent emails to their members asking them to educate themselves about the legislation and then contact their representatives.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership website has a form to identify your representatives and send an email to them about the legislation.