21 July 2003: Transportation Enhancements action in the U.S. House July 24th

We have previously reported that A subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the funding for Enhancements in the federal transportation bill.

Enhancements funds most bicycle and pedestrian projects across the U.S.
UPDATE 24 July 2003: The vote to restore Enhancements funding narrowly failed in the House Appropriations Committee. Read the details on MoBikeFed News. Between now and Auigust 2003, your Representative and Senators need to hear from you about your support for bicycle and pedestrian funding in the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill.
The chair of the House Appropriations Committee is poised to introduce a substitute bill that will re-instate Enhancements.

Appropriations Committee action on the bill is scheduled for Thursday, July 24th, 2003.

The current debate is a great opportunity to write your Representative and state your support for funding for bicycle, pedestrian, and other intermodal projects.

Click here to see a summary of Enhancements projects in Missouri.

Click here to find contact information for Missouri elected officials.

Salon has an article about the proposed cuts.

Below is the latest update on the situation from Rails-to-Trails:

TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENTS UPDATE #4
As you know, the bill approved by the Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Subcommittee of House Appropriations on July 11 would eliminate all funding for Transportation Enhancements activities. The grassroots outcry against this indefensible action is being heard loud and clear in the halls of Congress!

In response to the public opposition to the subcommittee bill, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL), has indicated that he intends to offer a "substitute package" when the bill comes before the full committee. Chairman Young's intentions were revealed in an editorial and a press story that appeared in newspapers in his local district over the weekend:

http://www.sptimes.com/2003/07/20/Perspective/Reinstate_trail_fundi.shtml

http://www.tbo.com/floridametronews/MGAASO34BID.html

Today RTC President Keith Laughlin sent a letter to Chairman Young commending him for his leadership in taking the unusual step of preparing an alternative to this fatally-flawed subcommittee bill. Laughlin also offered RTC's assistance in developing an alternative that restores full funding for Transportation Enhancements in the fiscal year 2004 appropriation for the US Department of Transportation.

We've got momentum on our side but this is no time to rest on our laurels! Chairman Young's substitute bill could still come before the full House Appropriations Committee this week. A list of the members of the committee can be found here:

http://www.house.gov/appropriations/members.htm

If your Representative sits on the Appropriations Committee, please call them and ask them to contact Chairman Young in order to ensure that his 'substitute package' restores full funding for Transportation Enhancements in fiscal year 2004.

In the meantime, press coverage has been proliferating, and RTC will continue to work with the news media to get the word out about how important the Transportation Enhancements program is for communities across the country. Here are two more great pieces that appeared over the weekend:

http://archive.boston.com/dailyglobe2/200/metro/Cut_could_spell_end_to_rail_trail_projects+.shtml

http://www.pjstar.com/news/editorials/g16437a.html

Our strategy is working. Again, please continue to provide feedback to RTC's Manager of Trails Advocacy, Ken Rosenfeld, at rtckenr@transact.org.

Thank you for your continued efforts.

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