Following the June end to the Washington state legislative session, the US Congress is now closing out debate before its August recess on transportation budget issues that could eliminate federal biking and walking investments.
Our friends at the League of American Bicyclists are leading the charge to protect Transportation Alternatives program funding – AKA, the federal transportation funding bucket used to invest in biking and walking projects nationwide.
Right now two amendments from Senators Paul and Lee propose to strip Transportation Alternatives funding. Bike League provides an accompanying action alert for you to use to contact Senators Murray and Cantwell.
For federal fiscal year 2013 Washington state projects are set to receive $12,334,077. About $1.8 million of this goes to the ever-popular Recreational Trails Program, and the rest (approximately $10.4 million) is split up from the state and local governments.
Out of the $10.4 million made available for walking and biking projects, $4.2 million of that is already targeted to about 13 Safe Routes to Schools projects across Washington. This loss of federal funding would stall the growing momentum for making it easier for kids to safely walk and bike to school in Washington state. Washington Bikes is deeply concerned that Senators Paul and Lee’s amendments would propose an amendment that would seek to impose a federal mandate against what Washington state leaders and local communities are seeking – safer streets for our kids and families.
Also, stay tuned on the Washington Bikes Twitter feed tonight. Word is that certain members of the House of Representatives could propose additional attacks on walking and biking investments. We’ll be sending out the most up-to-date information as the night progresses.