WASHINGTON, DC (BRAIN) Tuesday May 1 2012 11:41 AM MT—Bike advocacy groups are making the most of National Bike Month, which kicked off Tuesday, by lobbying Congress to restore funding for bike projects in the federal transportation bill.
The League of American Bicyclists, the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Sierra Club made the case for biking as a conference committee prepares to meet this month to hammer out a compromise between the bills the House and Senate have each passed.
The Alliance is urging supporters to take advantage of opportunities to lobby their representatives in person this month. "The House is out of session May 1-4 and May 20-29, and some Representatives may also be home for Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18," an Alliance statement read.
The LAB and the Sierra Club said cyclists aren't getting their fair share of transportation dollars.
"Biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips in the U.S. but receive just 1.6 percent of federal transportation spending," an LAB press release reads. "Still, some members of Congress want to eliminate those crucial dollars for biking and walking in the next federal transportation bill. "
In the same release, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune urged Congress to make "smart investments in transportation options."
"More and more Americans are getting on their bike to get where they are going. They are saving money, getting exercise and making what might be the most radical act in America today — passing on the pump."
Transportation legislation headed to conference
According to AmericaBikes, the House and Senate have each named members of their transportation bill conference committees. The committees will start meeting May 8 to reconcile the House and Senate bills. The House committee is being chaired by John Mica (R-Florida); the Senate committee is chaired by Barbara Boxer (D-California).
The current funding extension expires June 30.
A new AmericaBikes survey, to be released next week, shows a majority of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and trails.
More on Bike Month events on the LAB website.