If you care about cycling in Delaware but you’ve never contacted your elected representatives in Dover, today would be a good day to do that for the first time.
Our elected representatives in Dover will vote THIS WEEK (week of June 17) on DelDOT’s annual capital authorization. It will be up to them to decide if cycling (and walking) will be included, or not, in that authorization.
For cyclists in Delaware this is by far the most important vote of 2013.
The federal government sends about $200 million dollars to Delaware every year so that the state can make “improvements” in its transportation system. That money comes with a few strings attached but state government – our governor, legislators and DelDOT – decides which transportation projects are going to get funded. That’s why it’s so critical you contact your state senator and representative. (The state kicks in another $200 million. So DelDOT’s total yearly budget for transportation improvements is about $400 million.)
If you’ve never contacted your state senator or representative before, you may be wary of doing do, not knowing what to expect. But this is the way our democracy works. These legislators hear from their constituents all the time about education; about public safety; about taxes; and about dozens of other issues. That’s how they know that something matters to their constituents. The only way that they can know that they need to support cycling and walking improvements by DelDOT is if they hear from their constituents about that, too.
If they don’t hear from us, it’s as if we don’t exist.
Last year, the Delaware General Assembly voted substantial funding for Bike and Pedestrian Improvements. This year, however, in the draft bill before the committee (that will be voted on next week), there is no additional funding authorized for Bike and Pedestrian Improvements by DelDOT.
Contact your state senator and representative and tell them you support authorization for the Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program at DelDOT. Ask them, politely but firmly, to tell their colleagues on the Bond Committee that they need to support cycling and walking in Delaware by voting to authorize funding for the Bike and Pedestrian Improvements program at DelDOT. It’s easy! Here’s how:
2) Send them a personal email. Tell them you support more walkable and bikeable communities. Here is a sample letter (word.doc) you can use, including vital safety statistics. Adapt as you wish. But whatever you do, just let your elected representative know that this is important to you.
Please help make our democracy work for cycling by contacting your state senator and representative today.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.