Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Calling all Advocates

. . Congress has passed the Federal Transportation Act of 2012.  For the most part it was a disappointment for biking and walking advocates who anticipate major changes in priorities in government agencies.  Funding levels have dropped from 40% to 70% for active transportation and resource mandates have been eliminated.  Federal guidance that validated these forms of alternate transportation is seriously weakened. If progress is to continue, advocates at the national, state, and local level must step up and make a commitment.
. . This $100 billion bill draws only 70% of its funding from user fees such as gasoline taxes.  The balance comes from the General Fund into which all taxpayers contribute whether in a motorized vehicle or on a bicycle. So bicyclists and pedestrians are paying their fair share, but are they receiving their fair share?  Past equity gains no longer herald future opportunities.
. . With the pot being dramatically smaller, more private supporters of active transportation must become available to leverage diminished resources. Champions in public agencies expect their work assignment to following funding levels, which in Tennessee could approach zero. For example, last month, Bud Laumer, a longtime advisor and friend to the founders of Bike Walk Tennessee, saw his job in Arkansas Department of Transportation redirected away from active transportation. 
Please see statements from other organization as to their perspective.
. . In July Anthony Siracusa, President of Bike Walk Tennessee is making a “listening tour” across Tennessee visiting with advocates in the Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga seeking their input for how this organization might be able to step up and maintain levels of support and seeking volunteers to get involved.  If advocates are unable to meet with Anthony, they can post their suggestions to this post on the Bike Walk Tennessee blog at www.BikeWalkTN.com or send him a note with contact information at BikeWalkTN@gmail.com

Tom Evans, Director/Treasurer
Bike Walk Tennessee

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