Tell your representatives not to eliminate federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects

by
Sunset with cyclist

Sunset (by Jamie Brookland (AR), Alliance Photo Library)

You might be thinking “Again?”, but it is important to contact your representatives to preserve federal funding for bike and pedestrian transportation projects. We are still operating under the previous transportation act which expired in 2009, but has been extended many times as no agreement could be reached for a new plan. That is also the reason action was needed many times, especially this last year. Now House and Senate are negotiating a compromise from bills passed in both houses. The senate version preserves funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects under the Cardin-Cochran amendment, while the house version does away with most federal funding for bike-ped projects. Please follow the links below to contact your senators and representative. It is important and has proven to be effective !

The standard letter on the League of American Bicyclists action site talks mostly about popular support for bikeped projects and stresses also that the Cardin Cochran agreement enhances local government control with respect to requests for bicycle and pedestrian funding.

It might be helpful, especially for Sen Rubio and Rep Southerland, to add something concerning the economic benefit of investments in active transportation, e.g.:

  • Health care costs related to diabetes is now about 150 B$/year. Adding in other costs related to lack of physical activity like Cardio-vascular Deceases and Obesity we spend around 500B$/year (or 3% of GDP) in increased health care costs. This is about a factor of ten more than the federal transportation budget and 600 times more than investments in bike-ped facilities. A recent study for the upper midwest metropolitan areas (total population 31M) estimated that the costs savings related to reduced air-pollution and increased exercise by doing half of the short (<2.5 mile) trips by bicycle instead of the car would exceed 8 B$/year. Extrapolated to the rest of the country that corresponds to an amount larger than the transportation budget itself.
  • The North Carolina DOT estimated the ANNUAL economic impact of cyclists to be Nine time the ONE TIME cost to build bicycle facilities. The Annual income due to bicycle tourism is estimated to be 193 M$ in Colorado and 278 M$ in Wisconsin, many times the annual investment in bicycle facilities. In Florida the Pinellas trail was an economic engine for the local economies. Occupancy rates for private business in downtown Dunedin increased from 30% to 95% after establishment of the trail.
  • About 16% of household income goes towards transportation. Most of this money leaves the state, and a substantial part leaves the country. A increased use of alternative transportation means that more Florida income is spent locally.

Anyway, please contact your representatives, either by using the Take Action website of the League, or via the websites of the representatives themselves, (https://southerland.house.gov/index.cfm/email-me , http://billnelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm, http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact) or give their offices a call. It’s important!

Thank you !!

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