Momentum Builds for Transportation Alternatives Bill

Margo PedrosoAt the end of May, the current transportation law MAP-21 will expire unless Congress acts.  Leaders in the House and Senate are currently wrestling over their options, with Congress likely to extend the current law until at least July and possibly through the rest of the year. 

The extension will give Congress time to work on a longer-term transportation bill and to identify a funding fix since the federal gas tax no longer brings in enough revenue to support current transportation spending. We have been meeting with every Congressional office that has a role in the transportation bill to push for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which provides more than $800 million each year for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking, and other policies that will make it safer to walk and bicycle.   

A key component of our advocacy is to ask for Senators to support the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, S. 705, which was introduced last month by Senators Cochran (R-MS) and Cardin (D-MD). The bill proposes modest changes that will make TAP work better and would restore the 2012 funding cuts. 

We have been working closely with supporters at the local, state and national level to build momentum for S. 705 and TAP.  Since the bill was introduced, participants in the National Bike Summit visited every Senate office to ask for their support and thousands of local advocates contacted their Senators. 

Dozens of national organizations have stepped forward to show support for a federal investment in TAP.  They all support TAP for different reasons – health, accessibility, safety, economic benefits and more – helping show the breadth of support for this program.  These national supporters have shown their support for TAP in several ways:

  • 44 national organizations signed a letter to the Senate asking for support of S.705
  • Other national organizations shared quotes about why they support federal funding for bicycling and walking
  • And 15 organizations spent the day lobbying Senate offices to ask them to cosponsor S. 705

We are so grateful to organizations like the American Heart Association, the YMCA, the National PTA, NAACP and others for helping push for sustaining the Transportation Alternatives Program.

We also need your help.  If you haven’t done so already, please ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705. With just a few clicks, you can lend your voice to the voices of our partner organizations.