PRESS RELEASE: Congressional transportation bills dramatically cut funding for bicycling and walking


Contact: Brent Hugh
Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation
Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation responds to bills that will set national transportation policy for several years and will come a vote in Congress next week
Jefferson City, February 10th, 2011 - Dueling transportation bills in the House and the Senate both appear set to come to a vote next week.  The outcome will set U.S. transportation policy for the next several years.
"At a time when bicycling and walking play a larger role in American transportation than they have for decades, and the amount of automobile miles driven has remained flat for nearly a decade, it is a shame that the richest country in the world cannot find the small percentage of funding it takes to build decent roads, sidewalks, and trails for bicycling and walking," said Brent Hugh, Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.
"The House proposal turns back the clock fifty years, to a time when transportation meant cars, cars, and more cars.  But in the 21st century what our country needs is a balanced approach to transportation that meets the needs of those who drive, those who use transit, those who bicycle, and those who walk."
About 30% of Americans don't hold a driver's license, including more than 10% of adults, and 10% of households don't own an automobile.
Bicyclists and pedestrians represent 14% of fatalities but receive only 1.6% of transportation funding.
"Federal transportation policy must meet the needs of all Americans and give us real transportation choice," said Hugh.
The Senate version of the transportation bill, known as MAP-21, is far superior to the House version, according to Hugh. "The Senate version of the bill represents a truly bipartisan attempt to address the concerns of all sides of the political spectrum," says Hugh.
"But it, too, has some serious flaws--including severe cuts to bicycling and walking and removal of decision-making from local community control to state bureacracies.  We are asking both of the senators from Missouri to support the Cardin-Cochran Amendment, which will address many of these flaws, protect some funding for bicycling and walking, and restore a greater degree of local control." 
Dozens of bicycle and pedestrian groups and thousands of citizens have contacted Congress this week to oppose the cuts to bicycling, walking, and transit programs and to urge Congress to take a 21st Century approach to transportation funding and policy.
"Our transportation policies create our communities," says Hugh. "If we want to make our communities vibrant, active, healthy places to live, that is where we need to put our funding and that is where we need to put our priorities."
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About the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide coalition of bicyclists, walkers, runners, trail organizations and related businesses which represents over 30,000 Missourians and advocates on behalf of the state's two million ardent bicyclists and six million walkers.
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