As you might know, cities and towns across Washington rely on federal funding for programs like Safe Routes to School that build local, safe bicycle infrastructure for everyone. You also may know that we take the threat of zeroed out funding by Congress very seriously. No federal funding would spell certain disaster for safer roads and accessibility to biking and walking.
So this week, we called on many of our supporters to take action on such a threat (that I previously wrote about here). Thank you to those who contacted your Congressional representative to help us protect funding for bicycling. We pushed hard but we didn’t get over the top of this vote.
Yes, unfortunately, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted against protecting bicycle funding. It was a close, bipartisan vote: 27 to 29.
Washington state’s two committee members were split on an amendment introduced by Republican Tom Petri (R-WI) that would have restored Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements programs. Rick Larsen voted for the amendment. Jaime Herrera Buetler voted against it. If you live in the 2nd district, be sure to thank Congressman Larsen. If you live in the 3rd, we encourage you to reach out to Congresswoman Herrera Buetler and let her know of your disappointment.
Together, we generated over 900 emails to Congress—and while we didn’t get the result we wanted, we’re still in the fight.
The bill will probably pass a House floor vote void of any funding for bicycling. But there is a silver lining. Today’s bipartisan committee vote sends a strong signal to the Senate. If a transportation bill is going to be worked out between the chambers, the Senate will see that funding for bicycling is supported by Democrats and Republicans across the aisle—and we should end up in a better place in the final compromise bill. That is, when or if we get one this (election) year.
We’ll continue to track this and give you a shout when things heat up again, since the results will directly impact what happens on the ground over the next several years in communities all across our state.
Thanks again to those 900 letter writers!