This Washington

How Will US Rep. Reichert Vote on the Transit-Slashing House Transportation Bill?

By Erica C. Barnett February 2, 2012

We have a call out to Washington State Congressional Rep. Dave Reichert to find out how he plans to vote in committee tomorrow on the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act, the federal transportation funding bill.

While we wait to hear from Reichert, here are some of the changes the transit-slashing bill would make to federal transportation funding:

1) The bill completely eliminates all federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

2) In addition, the bill kills funding for the Safe Routes to School program, which is aimed at ensuring that kids can get to school by walking and biking without getting hit by cars. In fact the legislation "repeals" the entire Safe Routes to School program.

3) It eliminates the requirement that new bridges provide safe access for bicyclists, and eliminates language regulating rumble strips on the sides of highways, which are dangerous to cyclists.

4) It opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, which would produce enough oil to serve the US for about 6 months.

5) It would substantially increase the size of trucks allowed on US highways---from 87,000 pounds to as much as 126,000 pounds. Advocates for highway safety oppose the increase.

6) And, perhaps worst from the perspective of transit and "alternative transportation" advocates, the bill also completely eliminates guaranteed funding for public transit, requiring transit agencies to come to Congress, hat in hand, every year to beg for money, reversing 30 years of policy established under President Reagan. (Mandatory highway spending, of course, is guaranteed).

Twelve percent of the US public gets to work by walking or bicycling.
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