9 OCT 2008: Organizations sign on to letter to support bike/ped performance-based outcomes in next federal transportation bill

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is asking clubs, groups, and organizations across the country to sign on to a letter that will help House Transportation Chair Rep. James Oberstar support performance-based outcomes for the next transportation bill related to public health.

Performance-based outcomes will be a big emphasis of the next federal transportation bill.

The automobile and construction industries will be certain to push for performance-based outcomes designed to move more traffic at higher rates of speed.

Unless there are public health outcomes specified as well, it will be very difficult to justify spending transportation funds on walking and bicycling projects.

Rep. Oberstar supports this idea strongly, but with waffling and opposition from other members of the Transportation Committee, he needs to show that there is strong grass-roots support for this idea from across the country.

Any national, state or local organization that cares about the health care of Americans is encouraged to sign on to this letter. To do so email Brooke Driesse (brooke@saferoutespartnership.org) at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership with:

• The name and title of the individual who should be listed for your organization
• The name of your organization, as it should be listed
• Your contact information (including phone and email)

Key excerpt from the letter:

As you are drafting the legislation for the successor to SAFETEA-LU, we, the undersigned national, state and local organizations, write to urge you to recognize the key role the federal government holds with respect to how surface transportation affects public health—in particular, outcomes on physical activity, safety, and air quality. We urge Congress to develop performance-based outcomes for the next transportation bill related to public health. . . .

Congress should ensure that transportation projects improve opportunities for public health, and do not create additional public health hazards.