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House Republicans Ramp Up War on Safe Biking and Walking
If some House Republican negotiators get their way, safe biking and walking could be increasingly hard to find. More and more, Americans are biking and walking to work, on errands, and for fun. Just last year, cyclists saved $4.6 billion by biking instead of driving. Nationwide, biking and walking account for almost 12% of all trips, yet biking and walking infrastructure receives less than 2% of all federal transportation funding.
What we aren’t paying for in safe biking and walking infrastructure, we are paying for in lives. According to a recent study by Transportation for America, from 2000-2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed and another 688,000 were injured. However, seeing how biking and walking can make communities more vibrant and strengthen local economies, cities and towns are increasingly investing in sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths.
But as Senate and House negotiators enter the final three weeks of negotiations over a transportation bill, House Republicans are demanding that the Senate drop provisions that will make biking and walking safer across the country.
For some context, with a broad bipartisan majority, the Senate passed a bill that would fund our nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems at current levels through 2013. This comprehensive bill would preserve 1.9 million jobs throughout the country and create another one million jobs through innovative financing.
Unable to pass a comprehensive transportation bill, the House of Representatives instead passed a three-month extension of current law and then tacked on three anti-environmental poison pills – automatically permitting the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, preempting EPA from requiring the safe disposal of toxic coal ash, and gutting our nation’s environmental review process which ensures the public has a say in large transportation projects.
– Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Washington Representative for the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign