Prompted by an action alert from the League of American Bicyclists, I recycled some text from previous to advocate for allocation of Federal funds for multi-modal and active transportation initiatives as part of the current transportation bill. Since my Senator offered one of the key amendments, I don’t think this changes much.

Senator Markey, 

As your constituent, I want you to know that, as it comes before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, you have my support in advancing amendments to the DRIVE Act to drive our country to create a safe, accessible, and sustainable multi-modal transportation system. In particular, I endorse: 

Cardin Amendments on the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)

  • To restore funding to 2009 levels
  • To provide certainty to local governments by ensuring sub allocated funds cannot be transferred.  

Gillibrand Amendment on a Comprehensive Safety Pilot Program

  • To create an incentive program to reward local innovations in traffic safety 

Markey Amendment on Safe Streets

  • To ensure states adopt a complete streets policy 

Merkley Amendments on equity and access

  • To establish  a national goal of achieving a transportation system that connects people to economic opportunities through multiple modes of transportation
  • To establish a pilot project to study connectivity of transportation options to economic opportunities  

Cardin Amendment on flexibility in overall funding levels

  • Stating that if more funding for transportation is found through tax reform or another measure, the committee won’t be limited by the funding numbers in this bill 

In considering investment in transportation infrastructure, I urge you to emphasize these and similar multimodal transportation initiatives which will provide alternatives to our current automobile-centric system and its associated problems of greenhouse gas and other pollution, traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, and dependence upon oil trade supporting politically unstable regimes. To do otherwise and simply throw money at traditional automobile-centric transportation projects may provide short-term benefit, but wastes the opportunity to direct future growth in a healthier and more sustainable direction. 

While significant funding should be allocated to maintain and improve the safety and capacity of existing roads and bridges, investments in new transportation initiatives should emphasize multimodal options, especially pedestrian and bicycle trails, which promote energy efficiency, stronger communities, and healthier citizens. Having been a regular bicycle commuter, I know first hand the value of having a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trail within a block of both my home and office. I am further fortunate enough to live within walking distance of commuter rail service, giving me a public transportation alternative when bicycling is not viable. We must use this opportunity to open these transportation alternatives to the majority of our citizens, rather than a fortunate few. 

Please use this opportunity to both advance the long-term good of our nation at the same time as we make necessary investments to shore up existing transportation infrastructure. Direct our investment long-term cost-effective multimodal transportation initiatives so that active and public transportation become the norm, rather than the exception, for Americans.