Threats to Walking and Biking as Federal Talks Continue

The House-Senate conference committee tasked with negotiating a long-term transportation bill is in the thick of discussions. Last week, the lead Senate conferees, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)hand-delivereda proposal to House negotiators. Their proposal reportedly included the transportation policies outlined in the Senate’s MAP-21, which would provide stable funding through the 2013 fiscal year and reform the transportation system, particularly strengthening public transit. The Senate proposal did not address unrelated and controversial measures, like approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, that House members have demanded.

House negotiators responded last week and this week. Unfortunately, their counteroffers would take away local control of biking and walking funds, make it harder to improve street safety, and potentially hold up a deal.

Local Control of Walking and Biking Funds Under Threat

In an action alert sent earlier this week, Transportation For America said the House proposal would “give the state sole power over whether local communities can fix dangerous conditions for kids on the way to school, for elderly pedestrians, or anyone who walks or uses a bicycle,”  and called it “a direct slap in the face of city councils, mayors, and county leaders.