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Thank you for wanting to express your feelings about walking and bicycling to Sen. Martinez (R-Fla.). This action has expired.

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On September 11, 2007, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed an amendment on the Senate floor to prohibit the use of funds for bike facilities and trails and redirect these funds to bridge and road repair. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) was one of only 18 Senators voting in favor of this devastating action (S. Amdt. 2811 to H.R. 3074). Thankfully, most senators saw through this misleading measure and the amendment failed.

This was a cynical attempt by Sen. Coburn to scapegoat bike paths for the August Minneapolis bridge collapse. Central to Sen. Coburn's claim was the false belief that bicycles paths are never used for transportation. However, studies indicate that many people walk or bike to work on rail-trails and other bike paths. Indeed, in Minneapolis, 28 percent of all travel trips involve walking or biking.

Unfortunately, the Coburn attack did not occur in isolation. Rather, it is one in a recent series of attacks on bicycling by high level government officials, congressional representatives and even a presidential candidate.

Federal funds for these facilities are critical. We should be increasing them, not eliminating them.

Florida’s walking and bicycling facilities are disjointed and unconnected, and our interconnected statewide system of trails remains far from completed. Walkers and bicyclists bear a disproportionate amount of the fatalities in Florida, representing 20 percent of all traffic deaths. Leadership and federal funding are crucial to correcting these devastating realities.

Responding to this action alert, hundreds of Floridians wrote to Sen. Martinez, expressing their disappointment in his vote.