NAACP Strongly Supports Efforts To Keep Federal Funding For Local Authorities To Develop Community

NAACP Strongly Supports Efforts To Keep Federal Funding For Local Authorities To Develop Community Bikepaths and Walkways

NAACP Strongly Supports Efforts To Keep Federal Funding For Local Authorities To Develop Community Bikepaths and Walkways

Negotiators from the US House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are currently determining if an NAACP-supported program, which provides local governments with money to develop bike paths, walk ways and sidewalks, should stay in the 2012 version of the Surface Transportation legislation.  Specifically, the overall legislation, which negotiators are hoping to complete before a June 30, 2012 deadline, would provide federal monies for highways, roads, bridges and all other types of surface transportation.  Included in the Senate-passed bill is a provision which would require that one small portion of the monies raised through the federal gasoline tax be dedicated to go directly to local governments – counties and cities – to invest in a variety of small-scale, local community transportation projects which are “additional activities” to roads and highways, such as sidewalks, bikeways and other infrastructure improvements.  The goal of these alternatives is to make streets safer, get local economies moving, and encourage active living.  The money would be available to local entities because they are most familiar with the needs of their communities.

Sadly, some extremist Members of the House of Representatives are trying to exclude the Senate provision (named the “Cardin – Cochran agreement,” after the authors of the bi-partisan compromise agreement) from the final bill and thus eliminate this small, dedicated pool of money for use by cities and counties.  The result would be the elimination of local governments’ ability to access federal funds for small transportation projects like building sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. If the extremist members of the House of Representatives are successful, local governments won’t have access to the federal funds which have been proven so necessary in the construction of biking paths and sidewalks which make streets safer for all of us, improve our accessibility and economic competitiveness, and encourage active lifestyles.

Because time is of the essence, it is imperative that you call, e-mail or fax your Senators and Representatives today in strong support of the “Cardin-Cochran” amendment to the Senate version of the Surface Transportation bill which provides funding for local governments to pursue “additional activities,” such as bike paths, sidewalks and bike lanes.

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