Three months ago, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed its transportation reauthorization bill, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, which included significant funding increases and policy improvements for biking and walking. Unfortunately, we have seen no further movement in the Senate yet, and the bill must still pass through three more Senate committees before it can be voted on.
In the House of Representatives, there is a sense that the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is gearing up to consider its transportation bill early next year. Recently, Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) was quoted as saying he is working on a “transformative” bill that would address the climate crisis and provide “a lot more money to provide for moving toward a carbon- and fossil fuel-free transportation future.”
As transportation is now the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, biking, walking, and transit would likely fare well in a climate-focused transportation bill. We have had several discussions with Committee staff over the past months about our key asks and will continue to push for them.
- We should have a House version of the Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act within the next few weeks. We will let you know as soon as it is introduced – watch for a few changes to the legislation that will push for even stronger provisions to advance Safe Routes to School, biking, and walking.
- Our recommendations to significantly increase funding for biking and walking safety were introduced back in June as HR 3040 by Reps. Brownley (D-CA) and Espaillat (D-NY).
We also have another new bill to support: Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Buchanan (R-FL), and Pressley (D-MA) have introduced the Vision Zero Act, HR 4819. This bill would add eligibility for Vision Zero planning and implementation into the core transportation funding programs, and require states to examine speed reduction in their safety plans. It also includes language requiring that any funded Vision Zero efforts address equity and avoid disproportionate targeting of enforcement of communities of color.
We are in a bit of waiting game on the surface, but negotiations and conversations are happening behind the scenes that will shape what the next transportation law looks like. All signs are pointing towards that including greater investments in creating Safe Routes and safer biking and walking options.