The U.S. House and Senate are negotiating right now to produce a final federal transportation bill and 20 years of progress on biking, walking and Safe Routes to School could be eliminated.
PLEASE ACT NOW to protect the federal funding for local biking and walking.
In March, the Senate passed a bill with bipartisan support that included the Cardin-Cochran agreement, which allows local governments and school systems to access much-needed funds to for biking and walking projects and programs. But the House would prefer to get rid of biking and walking funding by giving states the chance to ‘opt out’ of this funding pot completely — and take away local governments’ ability to access federal funds for small transportation projects.
How did it come to this? According to our partners at America Bikes…
Since the beginning of May, selected members of the House and Senate have been in negotiations to produce a final transportation bill. Now, in their first offer to the Senate, House members have proposed eliminating the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement.
Last week, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) brought a draft offer to the House for consideration. The Senate’s offer included a program called Additional Activities, a small fund available for biking and walking improvements, environmental mitigation, and a variety of other small projects. It also included the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement, a provision that would allow local governments to compete for Additional Activities funds for small-scale local projects.
In response, the House sent a counteroffer that would eliminate local access to biking and walking funds. The House counteroffer would allow states to “opt out” of Additional Activities funding completely, thus eliminating the Cardin-Cochran agreement and taking away local governments’ ability to access federal funds for small transportation projects.
Local governments across the country need transportation funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. These small-scale, local projects make streets safer and help build more economically competitive downtowns. If the House of Representatives gets its way, though, local governments won’t have the opportunity to access funds for local projects.
You can help save the Cardin-Cochran agreement. You can make sure the hard-fought progress of the past 20 years isn’t lost.
Click here to ask your members of Congress to protect local access to funds for biking and walking.
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.