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U.S. Mayors Urge Congress to Preserve Funding for Bike/Ped Programs
Adding a very powerful voice to the call for continued federal funding for sidewalks and bikeways, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution at its annual meeting last weekend that urges Congress to "protect and increase funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs in the next transportation reauthorization law."
Representing more than 1,300 of the nation's largest cities, the USCM is certainly an influential ally in the campaign to keep bike/ped in the next federal transportation bill. Since 2008, the League has been cultivating ties with the mayors' organization and working to elevate bicycling within its policy agenda. In recent weeks, we worked with Mayor Paul Soglin — Mayor of Madison, Wisc., and Vice Chair for USCM's City Livability/Bicycling sub-committee — who led the development of the federal funding resolution, which emphasizes the benefits of bicycling and the importance of local access to federal dollars for such transportation projects.
A few keys lines from the resolution:
- WHEREAS, communities that have invested in pedestrian and bicycle projects have benefited from improved quality of life, a healthier population, greater local real estate values, more local travel choices, and reduced air pollution; and
- WHEREAS, federal investments in pedestrian and bicycle programs are highly cost-effective relative to road-building projects, reduce accidents by providing safe and convenient places to walk and bicycle, and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil; and...
- THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to protect and increase funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs in the next transportation reauthorization law through transportation enhancements, an expanded NTPP [Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program], support for Safe Routes to School, the Transportation Community Systems Preservation Progam (TCSP), expanding the Recreational Trails program and other federal transportation programs.
That wasn't the only measure related to cycling that passed at the meeting either. The mayors also got behind a resolution in support of bike sharing:
- WHEREAS, use of alternative modes of transportation helps all users of the transportation system, including those who choose to or must drive, by reducing congestion and improving safety among other benefits; and
- WHEREAS, alternative modes of transportation often support each other– for example, bike sharing programs improve the effectiveness of the existing transit system, integrating into the existing network and providing valuable connections and flexibility; and...
- THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly endorses the planning and implementation of alternative modes of transportation throughout the United States.
The conversation didn't stop with the resolutions. Soglin also hosted a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coffee Exchange, during which the Mayor and League staff discussed mayors' efforts to build more bicycle-friendly infrastructure in their communities, and laid the groundwork for a Mayors' Bicycle Meeting in Madison, Wisc., next spring.
The support of Soglin and the USCM is huge, but we can't preserve bike/ped funding without you, too. Have you emailed or called your members of Congress yet? Please, take action today!