And wow. It’s bad. It’s worse than many had feared.
Some key things to know about this bill:
- The bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
- Transit hangs on to a 20% share of funding.
- Spending goes down 33% compared to the last multi-year transportation bill.
Streetsblog and the LAB have more information on the bill, which is scheduled for a hearing on July 12 but is otherwise not scheduled in the present legislative session, which is going to be focused on larger budget issues and the debt ceiling.
The proper advocate thing to do here is to say that people who support funding for bike/ped projects, as well as funding that reflects the crumbling state of our national infrastructure, should write their Congressional delegates. And so I’m saying it. But I have to admit, the whole situation both in the state of Minnesota and federally depresses me. It’s hard to say that the voice of the people is important in a time of entrenched partisanship, economic hardship, and zeal for budgetary cutbacks (that in many cases do not meet an economic sniff test). In addition, Minnesota’s delegation is pretty set to either side — Ellison, McCollum, and Walz are typically pro-bike/ped funding and recognize the issues with infrastructure funding as critical. Collin Peterson, of Minnesota’s Seventh District, typically focuses more on roads and agriculture than on bike/ped. Kline and Paulsen are budget hawks, Bachmann is gung-ho for budget cuts, and Cravaack is a junior congressman who will do the bidding of his party.
But it’s what we can do. So, write your congressman or something. And if you feel the need to have a stiff one as you read the details of the transpo bill, don’t drink and drive, and don’t drink and bike.