(from the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy website)
On Tuesday, September 15, Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) issued two amendments to the FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. If passed, these amendments would eliminate the majority of available federal funds for trails, walking and bicycling.
Amendment 2370 would prohibit the use of federal funds for pedestrian or bicycle facilities, efforts to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, or other specified Transportation Enhancement (TE) projects if the Highway Trust Fund cannot cover unfunded highway authorizations.
Amendment 2371 is even trickier; while it claims to allow states to opt out of spending on TE projects, the actual amendment text in fact notes that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement” TE projects.
Providing opportunities for Americans to walk, bike and take transit to get where they’re going improves our communities’ health and livability, reduces emissions, creates jobs and save money.
Next, please call your senators with the following message:
I am calling from (city, state) to urge that Senator ______ vote against Amendments 2370 and 2371 to H.R. 3288. These amendments would jeopardize essential Transportation Enhancements projects such as trails and other walking and bicycling infrastructure. These projects are highly valued in my community, and we need more safe and convenient opportunities to walk and bike. How does Senator _____ plan to vote on these amendments?
It is best to use your own words. If you personalize your comments, please be sure to end your call by asking how the senator plans to vote. This is critical information for us to have, and puts the office on notice that they will be accountable.
Once you have made your calls, please tell us how they went so we can track progress and plan next steps. Thank you.
The amendments did not pass, with both of Ohio’s senators voting against them! Thanks to all that phoned in their opposition!