"Fix the Bill!" Alert
Support Key Amendments to Save Trails, Walking, Bicycling
Thank you for your efforts to help fix the Senate bill's approach toward funding trails, walking and bicycling. We are excited to report that the concept behind Senate Amendment 1549 (introduced by Senators Cardin and Cochran) to improve local access to Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School funds was included in a subsequent draft version of the bill! This is outstanding news.
Stay tuned as we work to follow up on your support of the Klobuchar amendment (S. Amdt. 1661).
Please read on for background from this alert's original publishing. Thank you, again!
The U.S. Senate could vote on its version of our nation's next multiyear surface transportation bill in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, as it currently stands, the bill does not provide dedicated funding for trails, walking and bicycling, breaking a 20-year precedent.
This is terribly disappointing and unacceptable. Trails, walking and bicycling contribute greatly to the goals of our communities—and to our nation. Investments in such projects are nothing short of phenomenal, as they:
- Create more jobs per dollar than road and highway investments;
- Bolster economic development;
- Improve safety—a critical need, since thousands of Americans die each year while walking and bicycling;
- Reduce our dependence on foreign oil;
- Provide opportunities for people to get and stay healthy; and
- Improve the quality of life for people around the country.
These programs are a win-win for everyone. If the federal government failed to support them, it would undermine our progress, forcing communities to shoulder the entire burden—which many are simply unable to do.
Thankfully, there is a solution! U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have introduced a bipartisan amendment (S. Amdt. 1549)* that would ensure that your community would have a fair shot at dedicating funds for trails, walking and bicycling. Further, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), joined by a bipartisan coalition of senators, has filed another amendment (S. Amdt. 1661)** that would restore the integrity of the Recreational Trails Program.
For more information on these amendments—or to see the breadth of support they enjoy—please see these national organizational sign-on letters that RTC coordinated in support of Amendment 1549, improving local access, and Amendment 1661, restoring the Recreational Trails Program.
Please contact your senator now. Ask that s/he support the Cardin/Cochran amendment to provide local decision-makers with the access they need to ensure that funds for trails, walking and bicycling are used for their intended purpose, and the Klobuchar/Burr/Shaheen/Risch amendment addressing Recreational Trails.
* S. Amdt. 1549 has been cosponsored by Scott Brown (R-Mass.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska).
** S. Amdt. 1661 has been cosponsored by Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Sample message text that advocates could edit and send:
Please vote for and support the bipartisan Senate Amendments 1549 and 1661 to resolve egregious problems in MAP-21 as it relates to trails, bicycling and walking.
I am very upset that MAP-21, as it was voted out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, fails to provide dedicated funding that we can count on to support trails, walking and bicycling.
Through inclusion of expensive new eligible projects like roads, activities like routine maintenance of vegetation and compliance with regulatory requirements, the newly defined Transportation Enhancements (TE) program will no longer be used by my state transportation department to fund trails, walking and bicycling. These transportation opportunities are absolutely necessary for our communities--and our nation--to continue creating jobs, providing affordable transportation, bettering our energy security, improving health and safety, and more.
As this bill is also about creating jobs, it is worth noting that a recent study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that TE projects, like building trails, create more jobs per dollar than do highway projects like road resurfacing.
Again, I ask you to please support floor amendments 1549 (to give local decision-makers access to TE funds) and 1661 (to reinstate the integrity of the Recreational Trails Program). I look forward to hearing of your commitment to more trails, walking and bicycling in MAP-21, helping our nation move toward a multimodal transportation system.