Amendment Defeated!

Sen. Coburn amendment would have allowed states to opt out of transportation enhancements set-aside

Sept. 16, 2009

News from American Trails -
Thanks in large part to thousands of your persuasive calls to Senators across the nation, the two Coburn Amendments affecting trails, bicycling, and walking were defeated this morning!

To view video of the testimony and votes on S. Amendments 2370 and 2371, visit Scroll down to 10:45 a.m. (Eastern) with Senator Coburn’s opening statements and click on his name to view the video. The testimony from additional Senators continues and ends with Senator Carper’s testimony at 12:15 p.m. Click on each Senator’s name to view their testimony.

Senator Coburn withdrew S. Amendment 2370. See how your Senator voted on S. Amendment 2371.

This is just another example of why we need to continuously promote the benefits of the Transportation Enhancements and other funding programs important to trails. In this economic time, it is easy for others to consider our work as non-essential. We know better! We must be much more vigilant in educating our leaders as to the variety of benefits trails provide our citizens and visitors.

Thank you to all of you for your swift action! Please be sure and thank your Senators. They can be reached at:


Amendments proposed by Senators Tom Coburn (OK) and John McCain (AZ):

Senators Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John McCain (Ariz.) just issued amendments to the FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. Their changes specifically attack funding for rail-trails, bicycling and walking.. If this funding is important to you, let your Senators know how you feel immediately. You can access your Senators' contact information at:

arrow Take action at League of American Bicyclists -

Background on the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill:

From Senator Coburn -

FY 2010 Senate Bill : Total Spending: $67.78 billion
This is a $12.4 billion (22.6%) increase over the FY 2009 regular order discretionary level of $55.3 billion.

Department of Transportation Funding
• FY 2010: $75.8 billion (this includes contract authority, which is not included in the total cost of the overall bill as noted above)
• The FY 2010 bill provides a 12% increase for the total DoT annual budget over last year’s level.
• In the last 12 years (since FY 1999), the DoT annual budget has increased 77% (42% adjusted for inflation).
• In 2009, DoT received $67.2 billion during the appropriations season and another $51.12 billion in Stimulus and Supplemental funding.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Funding - FY 2010: $45.8 billion
• The FY 2010 bill provides a 10% increase for the HUD budget over last year’s level.
• In the last 12 years (since FY 1999), the HUD annual budget has increased 88% (51% adjusted for inflation).
• In 2009, HUD received $41.5 billion during the appropriations season and another $13.6 billion in the Stimulus.

The THUD bill includes at least 580 earmarks costing $1.7 billion.

Coburn Amendments:
Amendment 2371: Allow States to Opt Out of Being Required to Fund “Transportation Enhancements”
The Surface Transportation Program is funded at over $6 billion annually and provides flexible funding to states for projects on any federal-aid highway, bridge, public road, or transit capital projects.

By law, and regardless of their other pressing transportation needs, states must spend approximately 10 percent of their annual Surface Transportation Program funding on “transportation enhancement activities,” including bike paths, historic preservation, scenic beautification and museums.

This amendment would allow states to opt-out of the federal requirement to set aside 10% of their surface transportation funding for these “enhancement activities” and shift the funding to more pressing critical transportation needs such as repairing roads and bridges.

$3.7 billion in transportation funding was obligated to 10,857 “transportation enhancement” projects between fiscal years 2004-2008. In addition, $833.5 million was authorized for Transportation Enhancement projects in FY 2009.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. DOT, of the 601,396 bridges in the U.S. in 2008, 151,394 (25 percent) were deficient. This includes 71,461 (12 percent) “structurally deficient” bridges (those that show significant deterioration and have a reduced load-carrying capacity) and 79,933 (13 percent) “functionally obsolete” bridges (bridges that do not meet current design standards).

These figures expose a nationwide problem of deficient bridges as well as the misplaced priorities of Congress, which has focused more on funding politicians’ pet projects than improving aging infrastructure.

arrow Read more details and news on the reauthorization of federal transportation funding

arrow Read more at League of American Bicyclists -

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