Missouri Congressmen vote to defund bicycling and walking

Yesterday Missouri Congressmen Sam Graves (Northwest Missouri) and Billy Long (Southwest Missouri) voted to eliminate federal funding for bicycilng and walking. They both supported a plan that targets bike/ped programs for elimination and reverses decades of progress that have resulted in Missouri getting more trails, more bike lanes, safer bridges, and more sidewalks in communities all over the state.

The US House of Representatives is working on a new federal transportation bill wlith all of these terrible setbacks. Both Congressmen sit on the House Transportation Committee that has a key role in shaping the future of our communities.  Despite many letters and phone calls from constituents, Graves and Long both voted against a bi-partisan effort to restore bike/ped funding. However, Congressman Russ Carnahan also sits on that committee and was one of the "yes" votes to save bicycling and walking. Please be sure to thank him!

Some elements of the horrible federal transportation bill include:

Safe Route to School would be "repealed" -  a popular and successful program that has helped communities around the state make it safer and easier for kids to walk and bike school by building sidewalks, improving crosswalks, and supporting educational programs.

Rail trails would no longer receive federal funding - many communities dream of connecting to the world famous Katy Trail State Park or developing their own rail trails. This bill cuts off an important funding source.

Many programs become optional - MoDOT would no longer be required to do things like include sidewalks on bridges, spend a small but dedicated amount of funds on bike/ped projects, or even have a state bike/ped coordinator.

America Bikes has a long list of the terrible and dangerous items in this bill that will reverse decades of progress for bicycling and walking.

So today we are down but not out. MoBikeFed is working with national bike/ped leaders on next steps and we continue to communicate with both Congressmen's offices.  We are also making plans to attend the National Bike Summit in March and speak directly with our entire Congressional delegation. Please join us if you can. We always need more representation from NW and SW Missouri.

Please stay tuned for updates in the coming days.  And thank you to everyone who wrote a letter or made a phone call this week. While we didn't get the outcome we wanted, your voices were definitely heard here and in Washington, DC.

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