America Bikes Coalition Endorses Obama Plan

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Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:50 am

The America Bikes coalition supports President Obama's call for a "clean" extension of the federal transportation program (SAFETEA‐LU). The coalition said investing in transportation infrastructure is a way to create and support millions of jobs. Investing in small‐scale, labor intensive projects such as bicycling and walking infrastructure is particularly effective in creating jobs while simultaneously helping to solve problems of congestion, obesity, air pollution, and oil dependence, the organization said.

The coalition urges Congress to reject House Republican demands that funding for bicycling and walking projects be stripped from the bill. According to the group, such demands are based on a misrepresentation of the facts about the Transportation Enhancement program, and a misunderstanding of the role bicycling and walking play in the nation's transportation system.

In their response to the President's remarks, House Republicans call for the elimination of the Transportation Enhancements program, which they say is 10 percent of the transportation funding program. The America Bikes coalition says the program is 1.5 percent of the overall transportation program, of which roughly one half is usually spent on bicycling and walking infrastructure.

Ending the program after 20 years would jeopardize investment in thousands of small‐scale, labor‐intensive projects that can be implemented quickly and efficiently, the lobby group said. According to the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), bicycle projects yield 11.4 jobs per million dollars spent, versus 7.8 jobs created per million spent on road only projects. These bicycle projects also generate economic activity for a very low up‐front cost, offering good returns on investment, the coalition said.

Bicycling and walking trips make up 12 percent of all trips in the United States, and 14 percent of all fatal crash victims on U.S. roads. Active transportation is growing in popularity and significance in communities throughout the U.S., the coalition said.

America Bikes is a coalition of leaders from the bicycle community advocating for positive outcomes for bicycling in the federal transportation bill.

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