Safe Routes on the Chopping Block

27 May

I am trying hard not to over-post on this issue, but it makes me so #$%& angry: according to a recent piece on the site Grist, appropriately titled “Congress Raises Middle Finger to Young Bicyclists,” the conference committee trying to come up with a new transportation bill is poised to essentially get rid of Safe Routes to School.  Depending on the final language of the bill, states could have the option to divert bike-ped funding to highway projects.  It’s not hard to imagine that a few states would refuse to do that, but that many — Virginia included — would find it hard to resist the temptation given how dominant those projects are already.

You most likely already know that bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure receive a disproportionately tiny amount of federal transportation funding, but guess what proportion of that funding SRTS now gets: 0.2%!!!  TWO TENTHS OF ONE PERCENT.  Clearly an expensive and wasteful federal program, given its success in reducing cycling and pedestrian fatalities, helping kids become more fit, and reducing pollution.  I don’t have exact numbers, but I would bet you that the whole SRTS program costs the same or less as one bridge to nowhere. Bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, as I never tire of saying, costs way less and gives much more bang for the buck than costly highway interchanges, road widening, and the like.

So, I’ll encourage you once again — and thank you if you’ve done so already — to contact your representative and senators and tell them you want dedicated funding for bike-ped and Safe Routes to School.

Click here to contact Bobby Scott, here for Eric Cantor.  And here are links for Webb and Warner.

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