February 10th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
I wrote on the horrid transportation bill proposed by the House GOP at the end of last week, summarizing just how bad it was. Well, now, there are a couple of options for you to take action in opposing this bill, which the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) calls the “worst transportation bill in 30 years.”
On the Transportation for America’s site, you can sign a letter to your representative in the House asking him or her to vote against the bill.
You can also sign a letter hosted on the League of American Bicyclists’ website.
Send your letters before the House votes on the bill next week!
Summary of the Situation in the House
If you haven’t been following this closely, here’s some useful info to catch you up (& you can also view my post linked above):
“The US House of Representatives will vote next week on a transportation bill that would fundamentally alter transportation policy as we know it, rolling back the clock to 1983,” the CNT, which is where I got this option from, writes.
“In an unprecedented move, the bill, HR7, would remove dedicated mass transportation funding from the Highway Trust Fund and use it solely to fund highways. It would also eliminate the already miniscule amount of federal funding that makes our roads safer for bikers and pedestrians. Read more about the failings of the bill here.”
More from the CNT:
The bill is not what our country needs. If it passes, it will leave more people with no other option than to drive, just as gas prices have hit new records and are expected to top $4.60 a gallon in the Chicago region by May.
The typical US family pays more than $1,100 dollars per month on transportation—largely owning, maintaining, and fueling cars. This bill would further strain people’s pocketbooks and put the brakes on the nation’s fragile economic recovery.
For more on how bad this bill is and the lies being parroted by House GOP leadership, check out: “Six Lies the GOP is Telling About the House Transportation Bill.”
Good News from the Senate
While the House GOP has shepherded through this horrible bill, the Senate has actually been working on a good alternative (well, not a perfect bill, but one much better than that proposed by the House GOP). Yesterday, Streetsblog DC wrote: “The Senate picked the right day to make themselves look good by comparison.”
“Today saw a massive mobilization of opposition to House Speaker John Boehner’s five-year disaster of a transportation bill, even as he defended it at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Meanwhile, the Senate voted 85-11 to move forward with Senator Barbara Boxer’s two-year reauthorization proposal.”
“This is a good vote,” Boxer said after the votes were tallied. “Tell the House we have a bipartisan bill worthy of their consideration.”
You can see all the votes so far here.
More from Streetsblog DC:
It was the first real test for Boxer’s bill, sometimes called MAP-21, before the entire Senate. The bill is far from perfect, with bike/ped programs falling victim toprogram consolidation. It does give a small boost to transit operations and it does not rely on drilling for new revenue.
The pursuit of bipartisan support has been a hallmark of Boxer’s reauthorization efforts, even more than any specific policy goals. Before today’s vote was held, she expressed her hope for more than the 60 votes necessary to move forward, and in the end she received broad support from across the aisle.
The vote invokes cloture, which means the bill cannot be filibustered. No further amendments may be proposed to it, though Boxer acknowledged that a good number had been proposed already. One of those amendments, sponsored by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin and Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran, would give local governments greater access to transportation funds — good news for the transit, bike and pedestrian projects that cities and towns like to build.
Subsequent votes will formally attach the titles passed by the Commerce, Banking, and Finance committees. A full vote in the Senate is expected some time next week.
Want more? Check out this piece by the League of American Bicyclists on the bicycling community’s efforts and cooperation in opposition to this bill.
Car accident via shutterstock
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