Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why Congress Must Support Bicycling In The Federal Transportation Bill

From the League of American Bicyclists:

As members of Congress enter the critical stages of negotiations on a federal transportation bill, the League of American Bicyclists releases the following statement from League President, Andy Clarke.

For the past 20 years, local elected officials have had access to state transportation funds through a handful of federal programs for bicycling and walking initiatives: Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails. They account for just 1.5 percent of the overall federal transportation bill and have all been heavily over-subscribed since their creation.

Despite the overwhelming success and popularity of these programs, House Republican leadership and a handful of influential Senators have waged an unexplained and inexplicable vendetta against these programs -- not to save the government any money, just to prevent state or local governments spending their money on these specific programs and activities, removing any vestige of local control over transportation investments.

Here are our top ten reasons why members of Congress must reject these small-minded and vindictive attacks.

- A recent national survey found overwhelming bipartisan support among the American public: 83 percent of respondents support continued or increased federal funding for bicycling and walking programs.

- More than 70 national organizations -- from the NAACP to the AARP -- have united to urge Congress to preserve control over biking and walking projects in the federal transportation bill.

- Transportation investment in bicycling, pedestrian and trail projects are more effective in creating jobs, per dollar spent, than traditional road projects.

- From 2001 to 2010, more than 50,000 pedestrians were killed because our roads remain unsafe for the most vulnerable users: people who walk.

- Bicycling reduces traffic jams: Even a 1.2 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled in 2011 resulted in 30 percent reduction in congestion in our major metro areas.

- A small investment makes a big difference: In cities that have invested in bicycling programs there has been a 77% increase in bicycle commuting since 2000.

- Small-scale projects to improve the safety, functionality and operation of highway system for all users are popular, successful, and get done quickly. Mega-highway projects with will still take years to get built even through a streamlined process.

- There are so many benefits beyond transportation to investing in more walkable, bike-friendly communities. Highway agencies may not care about health or livability but the American public does.

- Biking and walking improve military readiness: The U.S. military is so concerned about the general lack of physical fitness among kids that they are big supporters of the Safe Routes to School program.

- Bicycling and walking make up 12% of all the trips that are made by Americans; 14% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists or pedestrians; but only 1.5% of federal transportation funds address these issues.

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