The California Bicycle Coalition is asking Peter DeFazio, Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to make sure any upcoming transportation funding bills “put people first, with infrastructure and services that make our communities prosperous, safe, and healthy.”
Transportation funding “should reduce inequality by prioritizing places harmed by disinvestment, and impacted by freeways and freight infrastructure. And it should make it easier to ride a bicycle, walk, and take transit,” stresses the petition.
CalBike is asking Congress to consider doing several things right away, including:
- Investing $2.5 billion in bike network connectivity grants. “A network of slow streets, bike paths, and protected bike lanes that reaches all destinations in a community is key to making bicycling practical and accessible for most people,” says the petition. Although the House included some money for this in its draft funding bill, the proposed amount – $250 million – was way too little to achieve anything meaningful.
- Doubling the size of the Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds safer streets throughout the country.
- Subsidizing purchases of e-bikes and bike share memberships.
These actions are small but necessary early steps to help reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“California invests billions in car infrastructure such as freeways and parking,” writes CalBike. “Yet, we still have traffic congestion, and our communities still suffer from disinvestment and poverty. We are paying the price for our car-dependence—not only in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but also in pollution and other threats to safety, health, and the economy.”
Active transportation is essential to creating the net-zero carbon future laid out by the Biden administration. Electric automobiles are one element, but without ambitious investment in other forms of truly sustainable transportation, it simply won’t be possible to cut carbon emissions as steeply as necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe. Full funding for biking, walking, and transit in the transportation bill is the first step.
You can sign CalBike’s petition here.