[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Fwd: FEDERAL BIKE SAFETY FUNDING THREATENED (5/14)



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from Davedbike@aol.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Concerned Environmentalists,

This federal transportation issue is, indeed, urgent!!!

And we need to act.

I'm new to this list, but am sharing a report released today (attached) for
your further background.  Sorry for the length.  

As a bike/ped transportation advocate working in Kalamazoo, and a member of
many bicycle organizations working to improve viable transportation options
particularly in urban areas, we have an urgent need everywhere to get the
word out, clearly, on just what is going on in Washington, DC, on this ISTEA
reauthorization effort.

The previous post, today, articulates much of what is happening.  But,
clarification is still needed, I think, to prioritize who to effectively
contact.

ISTEA's CMAQ AND Enhancement programs both are currently under attack by the
highway lobby as unncessary, and they are looking to flex 50% of those funds,
undoubtably, to highway expansion projects--which, undoubtably, will drive
Michigan's sprawl problem to just this side of oblivion.  Do you care?  I
think so.

We cyclists, and many others within the STPP coalition (a strong group
composed of over 200 pro-ISTEA organizations), defiantly oppose this action,
and we now have Clinton's support to back us up.  But now is not the time to
let our guard down.  This highway lobby is tricky with uncomparably vast and
powerful resources, and obviously not with communities as their constiuency.

At a time when community cores are suffering, unfairly, in disinvestment,
with rural areas being swallowed up, and bicycling transportation being
looked towards as a strong role in community revitalization efforts; cutting
these very basic and needed programs is a blatant disregard of our citizens
basic transportation needs--and health and transit needs through the CMAQ
program.  If EPA's stricter air standards go in effect, CMAQ will be key to
resolving improvements.  And Enhancement funding crucial to innovation and
retrofitting..

In Kalamazoo, for example, we're lucky to have received Enhancement planning
funds to thoroughly plan for efficient funding of bike and ped improvements
at a time when Kalamazoo's automobile congestion is predicted to increase
some 30% over the next 20 years--pushing the need for efficient pavement use
to an extreme.  While I'm confident we'll get the job done here,
planning-wise, I'm concerned about the will of the citizens to change this
disinvestment trend, here, and in other sprawling communities, nationwide.
 Do we have it?  If so, ISTEA is a great tool do so, and now is the time to
act!!

Clearly we have challenges in efficient use of some of these funds, further
partnering, and streamlining the programs, but, no excuse to axe them
prematurely for more sprawl.

Two key Michigan legislators are part of the House T & I committee making
this very important policy decision, now, in the next 5 days.

Vern Ehlers and James Barcia.  

They desperately need to hear from more than just us cyclists that
Enhancement and CMAQ programs are important, worth keeping as dedicated
programs.  Don't flex them.

While the Clinton administration is behind keeping these programs intact, we
still need the vocal support of the Michigan environmental community to take
a stand on this issue with our federal legislators.  

Please call these two key Michigan members, and your district reps as well,
as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Dave DeRight
Kalamazoo


---------------------
Forwarded message:
From:	Jcorless@transact.org
To:	davedbike@aol.com
Date: 97-05-14 12:17:00 EDT

***PRESS RELEASE***

EMBARGOED UNTIL:
May 14, 1997 AT  10:00 a.m.        

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Niki Mitchell,
Kelly Behan 
Environmental Media Services
202/463-6670 

Valerie Holford, 
Fenton Communications 
202/822-5200
=========================================

FEDERAL FUNDS FOR 
BICYCLES SAVING LIVES

Congress Threatens to Cut Funding for Bicycle Facilities
As New Data Shows 12 Percent Fatality Drop

A pending congressional re-write of transportation policy would 
cut bicycle funding by as much as 50 percent just as a new report 
documents that between 1986 and 1995 an average of 840 
cyclists were killed and another 75,000 injured annually by motor 
vehicles while bicycling. Children are twice as likely as adults to 
be killed by a car while biking. Almost half--47 percent--of all 
bicycle fatalities involved children under the age of 18.  But in 
communities where bike lanes, paths and other facilities have 
been built traffic related bike crashes have declined sharply 
encouraging more riding.

Share the Road, a study released by the Surface Transportation 
Policy Project (STPP), the Environmental Working Group 
(EWG) and the Bicycle Federation of  America (BFA), also 
reports that a vast majority of Americans support spending 
transportation tax dollars on bicycle facilities to make biking 
safer. The report ranks the 10 metro areas with the highest and 
lowest fatality rates.

Bicycling is growing in popularity. More than 100 million 
Americans ride bikes, an increase of 10 percent since passage of 
the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 
1991. ISTEA for the first time dedicated funding to a diverse 
assortment of transportation projects including bicycle programs.

The government reported new findings over the weekend that 
suggest investments in bike safety are paying off. A preliminary 
analysis issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) reports that bicycle fatalities fell by 
12% and injuries by 5% in 1996, suggesting that ISTEA-
increased investments in better provisions for bicycling are 
working.

"Now is not the time to cut funding for a government program 
that is saving lives," said Brian Cohen, EWG analyst and 
principal author of the report.

"What the report highlights is that we still have a long way to go 
before we can think about cutting the modest amount of money 
dedicated to providing bicycle access and safety," said Bill 
Wilkinson, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of 
America. "We need to accommodate transportation choices. Not 
everybody uses a car to get where they are going.  Five million 
Americans will bike to work this year, for example, and many 
more would if  they could. They deserve to be as safe as the guy 
in his Ford. We need good roads, more trails, better drivers and 
better bicyclists.  And an improved transportation law can help 
us get there."

Share the Road also found that more than two-thirds of all 
bicyclists are killed by cars on neighborhood streets and local 
roads, the places we believe are safest to bike. The states with 
the highest fatality rates were Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, South 
Carolina and North Carolina. 

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida is the metro area with 
the highest fatality rate at  9.3 cyclists per million. Other large 
metropolitan areas with bicycle fatality rates more than twice the 
national average included Miami-Hialeah, Phoenix, Fort 
Lauderdale, Hollywood- Pompano Beach and Orlando.

One reason streets are unfriendly for cyclists is that the bulk of 
transportation dollars go to accommodate travel by car. So for 
example, wider roads without a paved shoulder for cyclists 
would allow cars to travel faster without adequate 
accommodation for bikes. This is true even in some communities 
where the bike is considered a significant mode of transportation, 
according to bike experts.

Bike opponents--or the highway lobby---are gearing up to attack 
any spending on transportation choices including bicycling and 
walking. A proposal by Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA.), Chair of the 
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would 
allow states to divert 50 percent of funds from ISTEA's 
Enhancements and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality 
Improvement (CMAQ) programs to other highway programs. 
The Enhancements program is the main source of funding for 
bicycles.

"Before 1991, nearly all transportation spending went to build 
roads. Under ISTEA we are given real transportation choices---
walking, transit, biking. Proposals like Congressman Shuster's 
would throw our nation's transportation policy into reverse and 
prevent us from stopping hundreds of unnecessary deaths each 
year,"  said Hank Dittmar, executive director of STPP.

In addition, STARS-2000, introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-
MT), would reshape ISTEA to reduce funding for bike-safe 
streets. So would Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) STEP 21 which 
would gut the ISTEA law and turn the entire program into a 
block grant eliminating dedicated funding for bikes.

The $155 billion ISTEA is being re-authorized by Congress this 
year. Since ISTEA was passed in 1991, more than $1 billion has 
been spent to increase bicycle safety and access.  Annual 
spending for bike safety under ISTEA is 100 times greater than 
pre-ISTEA spending.  Pre-ISTEA, virtually no federal money 
was spent to improve conditions for bicyclists.

Some communities like Seattle, WA., Portland and Corvallis, OR 
have reduced bike fatalities by implementing ISTEA-funded 
improvements. Davis, California which has built many miles of 
bike trails and lanes began its bike safety campaign on a 
shoestring pre-ISTEA and greatly enhanced it under ISTEA. 
Davis, consequently, has had no bike fatalities in the last 10 
years.  Over 20 percent of trips in Davis are made by bike and 
there are many miles of bike trails and lanes.

 "Slowly but surely, federal transportation policy is increasing 
opportunities for bicycling, and making bicycling safer," said 
Cohen.

--30--


==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================