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Speak up to protect funding for trails, walking, and biking!

November 2, 2015

Please ask your Representative to vote NO on the Carter and Yoho amendments that would end eligibility for biking and projects.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering the transportation bill this week. We expect up to three votes on amendments to damage federal funding for Safe Routes to School, trails, walking and bicycling.

Just a week ago, the House Transportation Committee passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR) after a bipartisan negotiation between Chairman Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member DeFazio (D-OR). The bill has a careful compromise on the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which is a key funding stream for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking, that maintains the current competitive process and local control provisions that help ensure these dollars are accessible to local governments.

Three amendments have been submitted for consideration that would undermine that agreement. Rep. Carter (R-GA) has two amendments; one would make bicycling and walking projects ineligible for a broad swath of transportation funding and the second would allow TAP funds to be spent on road and bridge projects. Rep. Yoho (R-FL) would eliminate the Recreational Trails program.

On Wednesday and Thursday the House of Representatives are going to voting on the transportation bill- including up to three  votes to cut eligibility for biking  projects.

Last week the Transportation Committee, led by Chairman Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member DeFazio (D-OR), passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA). This bill includes a carefully constructed agreement on bicycling and walking funding that we support - and need to defend.  It maintains funding streams for biking infrastructure projects, and it maintains the local control aspects and competitive processes that have made the transportation alternatives program effective.

Rep. Carter and Yoho have introduced amendments that undermine that agreement. Rep Carter has two amendments. One amendment makes biking and walking projects ineligible for certain types of transportation funding. The second opens up the transportation alternatives funding to road and bridge projects. Representative Yoho's amendment would make the Recreational Trails Program ineligible for any transportation funding.
 
Please speak up today! Ask your Member of Congress to vote NO on the Carter and Yoho amendments that would cut back federal funding for the exact types of projects that make our communities safer and healthier for everyone.

photo of smiling men in suits


 

Transportation goes to House floor under a (likely) open modified rule

 

We've been busy reviewing the 250+ amendments that were filed for the House floor consideration of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act. There are three of particular concern:

• Carter #68 – makes all TAP funding suballocated to large MPOs usable for any road/bridge purpose

• Carter #69 – removes eligibility from regular STP funds for Rec Trails/bike/ped (but retains eligibility for SRTS); repeals Rec Trails; actually keeps TAP intact with all projects eligible

• Yoho #158 – repeals Rec Trails

Because there are so many amendments to get through, Rules will meet Monday and Tuesday. We believe a significant amount of amendments will be approved in line with Speaker Ryan's pledges for a more open process. Floor action will start Wednesday and go through Thursday or possibly Friday, likely with some long nights. Even though these three amendments would be problematic if passed -- none of them are the direct frontal assault to completely eliminate TAP that we'd expected. We think we'll be able to beat these back, particularly because Shuster and DeFazio will be working together on the floor to protect the bipartisan agreement. House and Senate will then quickly move to conference, theoretically to finish by Nov 20 (though they may have to extend again to get over the finish line in December).
--
Margo Pedroso
Deputy Director
Safe Routes to School National Partnership
margo@saferoutespartnership.org
http://www.saferoutespartnership.org

 

The House has also picked a new leader, and it looks like Transportation will be on his agenda for his first full week of work. Last week the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee marked up the transportation bill. With over 150 amendments filed, 45 were included in a managers amendment, 3 passed during the committee by Chair- Ranking member assent, and 2-3 were voted on and failed. The best part- there were no amendments filed that had anything to do with TAP or bike/ped at all. (There was an amendment in the manager's packet that strengthens the complete streets amendment.

The House floor will vote on the bill next week. The rules committee is accepting amendments until 2pm today, and will meet on the bill Monday at 5pm to set up votes as early as Tuesday. We are expecting the bill to be debated under an open modified rule, which means that any germane amendment, that are filed by the deadline will be heard on the foor. If they get an unworkable number there maybe some effort to cull duplicative amendments- but under Speaker Ryan they are trying to open up the process as much as possible. Staff are estimating that the House will be voting on the bill Tuesday - Thursday next week.

We'll be prepping for an alert, and will keep you updated. Right now our message is to support the Shuster-DeFazio bill and oppose any amendments that oppose any amendments that undermine their carefullly crafted compromise on bicycling and walking. We've had several meetings with roughly 50 non-T&I Republican offices and are feeling like there is strong support for keeping the program. It helps that we're asking them to support the committee's bill vs. an amendment to it. However, we were hoping for a closed rule with just one amendment to fight instead of the possibility of several amendments.

CARON WHITAKER, Vice President, Government Relations

CARON@BIKELEAGUE.ORG

THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS

 

arrow See Current legislation, issues, and action as the transportation funding reauthorization debate heats up on Capitol Hill.

arrow Read about nationwide benefits of RTP funding in the 2014 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report

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