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A statement from the America Bikes Coalition
September 8, 2011
The America Bikes coalition supports President Obama’s call for a “clean” extension of the Federal transportation program (SAFETEA‐LU).
Investing in transportation infrastructure is a way to create and support millions of jobs. Investing in small‐scale, labor intensive projects such as bicycling and walking infrastructure is particularly effective in creating jobs while simultaneously helping to solve problems of congestion, obesity, air pollution, and oil dependence.
The coalition urges Congress to reject House Republican demands that funding for bicycling and walking projects be stripped from the bill. These demands are based on a misrepresentation of the facts about the Transportation Enhancement program, and a serious misunderstanding of the role bicycling and walking play in our nation’s transportation system.
In their response to the President’s remarks, House Republicans call for the elimination of the Transportation Enhancements program; they say it is ten percent of the transportation funding program. It is not. The Transportation Enhancements program is 1.5% percent of the overall transportation program, of which roughly one half is usually spent on bicycling and walking infrastructure.
Ending this popular and successful program after 20 years would jeopardize investment in thousands of small‐scale, labor‐intensive projects that can be implemented quickly and efficiently. According to the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), bicycle projects yield 11.4 jobs per million dollars spent, versus 7.8 jobs created per million spent on road only projects. These bicycle projects also generate economic activity for a very low up‐front cost, offering tremendous returns on investment. In this economic climate, this is exactly the kind of investment our cities and our businesses need.
Bicycling and walking trips make up 12% of all trips in the United States; bicyclists and pedestrians comprise 14% of all fatal crash victims on our nation’s roads – and yet these two modes of transportation receive barely more than 1% of Federal transportation investment. Active transportation is growing in popularity and significance in communities throughout the nation and this welcome trend is due in part to the investment of Federal transportation funds in bicycling and walking infrastructure.
The America Bikes coalition urges Congress to pass a clean extension to the transportation bill, and support continued dedicated funding for bicycling and walking programs.
America Bikes is a coalition of leaders from the bicycle community advocating for positive outcomes for bicycling in the federal transportation bill.