Last Thursday, the House Transportation Committee narrowly defeated an attempt to restore dedicated federal funding for biking and walking programs. Washington’s two Congressional members who sit on this committee split their votes with Rick Larsen (WA-02) voting in favor of restoring the funds and Jaimie Herrera Beutler (WA-03) voting against it. A huge thank you and a tip of the helmet to the many who contacted them.
Although the vote was a disappointment, the fight for an equitable transportation bill is far from over. Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking wrote in a blog post
Elimination of funds for biking and walking isn’t the only reason the House bill is terrible policy. The House bill puts public transit in jeopardy by diverting transit funds, an issue that has raised the alarm at Transportation for America and the American Public Transportation Association. A coalition of environmental organizations strongly objects to the bill’s environmentally backwards provisions, as well.
The House Transportation bill will soon move from committee to the House floor for a full vote. The Senate is working on its own version of a Transportation bill and, while it is friendlier to biking and walking, it has its own shortcomings. The House and Senate will eventually need to come together to reconcile differences in their bills.
Next month, Bicycle Alliance staff members Blake Trask and Josh Miller will make the journey to Washington, DC for the National Bike Summit. They will meet with members our state’s Congressional delegation to ask them to support a transportation bill that preserves dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, including Safe Routes to School.
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