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Sen. Patty Murray Not Bringing Home the Bacon for Cyclists and Pedestrians, Cascade Bike Club Says

By Chris Kissel January 30, 2009

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) seems proud of how green she's helped make the Senate stimulus package. When she released the numbers on Wednesday, she highlighted billions of dollars she'd allocated toward transit and rail, beating the House's package on the order of about $1.5 billion for transit.

But the Cascade Bicycle Club, the Seattle-based pro-bicycle nonprofit, says the House stimulus bill, passed on Wednesday, has the Senate's version beat in one big way—the House set aside $1.3 billion nationally for nonmotorized projects (like increases in sidewalks and bike lanes). While CBC leader David Hiller wishes there was more money in that package, he's more worried that the Senate is going to do even worse by putting its money toward traffic signal sequencing measures and efforts to widen intersections instead of road enhancements for cyclists and pedestrians.

The bike club is asking their members—over 10,000—to send emails to Sen. Murray to convince her, as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation (and as their Senator), to allocate more funds to strictly nonmotorized projects.

Hiller says he wants at least three or four percent of the transportation money from the stimulus bill to go to cycling and pedestrian projects. The Cascade Bicycle Club is also lobbying Gov. Gregoire over similar provisions of her stimulus package for Washington State.

"If we're going to grow without stuffing our freeways, we need to be accommodating short trips made by bicycling and walking," says Hiller. The current package "ignores the needs of [many] Americans," he added.

Sen. Murray's office didn't return a call.

The Senate Appropriations committee set aside $27 billion in investments for highways and $11.5 billion strictly for transit and rail. The House version of the bill set aside $30 billion for highways and $10 billion for transit and rail.
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