By Tim Blumenthal, Director, Peopleforbikes.org
The U.S. Senate affirmed its time-tested support of bicycling Thursday by forcing Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to withdraw his proposal to eliminate dedicated funding for the Transportation Enhancements program.
Peopleforbikes.org supporters and our advocacy partners influenced this outcome by sending close to 50,000 emails and making thousands of phone calls to their U.S. Senators in just 48 hours. Thank you!
As a result, funding for all federal transportation programs has now been extended to March 31, 2012. The key, cost-effective programs that make bicycling safer and easier — Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails — will continue to receive modest, dedicated support — about 1.5 percent of the total federal transportation investment.
Every U.S. Senate office received an unprecedented number of well-crafted emails and articulate phone calls this week from people who bike. This powerful show of support for bicycling made a strong impression on Congress and influenced the positive outcome.
We reminded the Senate that bicycling investments support a growing number of transportation trips coast to coast, and save government agencies money on road repairs, parking infrastructure costs, and health-care costs. They recognize that this is a small investment with a big payback that makes Americans safer.
A huge thanks to the thousands of Americans, our supporters, who rallied quickly to contact their elected officials on this challenge. We will continue to keep you posted on key issues and opportunities that affect the future of bicycling in the United States.
I hope you’ll join me in taking a ride this weekend to celebrate!