Advocacy Alert: Support local control over biking, walking projects

Left to right: Angela Fox (Crystal City BID), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Andy Clarke (League of American Bicyclists) (Photo by Chris Eichler – America Bikes)

More than 70 national organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Heart Association, have united to urge members of Congress to preserve local control over biking and walking projects in the federal transportation bill.

In a new sign-on letter to transportation bill conferees, the diverse coalition — representing millions of Americans — asked members of Congress to preserve the Cardin-Cochran agreement, a bipartisan compromise that would allow local governments and school systems to access a small amount of federal transportation funds for projects like sidewalks, bikeways and other small–scale transportation projects.

While members of Congress may be debating the issue, Americans outside the beltway overwhelming support these popular projects. A Princeton survey recently found that 83 percent of Americans want Congress to increase or maintain federal funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways, including 80 percent of surveyed Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats.

“This letter and the March 2012 polling data show broad support for federal funding for biking and walking across the country,” said Caron Whitaker, campaign director of America Bikes. “The Cardin-Cochran amendment gives communities the ability to apply for limited federal funds for small-scale, local transportation projects that help make downtowns economically competitive, improve street safety, and encourage healthy and active transportation. Americans clearly want this small, but vital, investment in biking and walking to continue."

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