You may remember just weeks ago, the leading federal funding source for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects, Transportation Enhancement (TE), was saved from the threat of being cut, thanks to the dedication of people like you contacting their senators. Well, already, there’s a fresh attack on TE funding and – not surprisingly – it makes no sense. Here’s the scoop:
Rand Paul (KY) is proposing an amendment that would redirect all funding for Transportation Enhancements to bridge repairs. Mr. Paul’s amendment is set for a Senate vote Tuesday, Nov. 1. While we are all for bridge repairs, gutting the Transportation Enhancements program is not the way to get the job done. Here are four reasons why:
1. Everyone deserves to be safe. We agree that we must keep our bridges safe, but the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists are important too. Nearly 5,000 Americans die each year biking or walking on our nation’s roadways.
2. Reallocating bike funding won’t make a dent in the cost of bridge repairs. Even if every penny of Transportation Enhancements money is diverted to bridge repairs, Senator Paul’s plan would still take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs we have today.
3. Transportation Enhancements provide essential transportation benefits, like reducing road congestion, improving safety, getting people active, and creating more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects.
4. States don’t spend all the money they already receive for bridge repairs.
This is the third attempt in a month by a small group of Senators to target Transportation Enhancements, using a different angle each time. It is a waste of the Senate’s time and taxpayers dollars to focus on eliminating this modest, cost-effective, valuable program when we are in dire need of real and viable solutions to fix our failing transportation system.