Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 9th, 2012 at 9:32 am
"Terrible", "horrible", "worst ever", "disaster", "defective" — these are just some of the terms that high-profile media outlets and top-ranking officials have used to describe the House transportation bill (H.R. 7, full text here as PDF).
Realizing that the bill is so far off base that no amount of amendments would help, national transportation advocacy groups have launched a coordinated attack to kill the bill.
Transportation for America, the League of American Bicyclists, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and hundreds of local and regional bike and transit advocacy organizations across the country have launched an attack against the bill, starting today with a national effort to flood Congressional offices with telephone calls voicing outrage.
I am usually hesitant to resort to fights when it comes to advocacy — I prefer to frame things in a way where no one feels they can claim victory or defeat. But this time, it seems clear that the Republican party has launched an assault on biking, walking and transit, and without an equally energetic response, America's transportation system will be at even greater peril than it's already in.
Backers of the bill, which include the Highway Users Alliance and the US Chamber of Commerce, applaud its "back-to-basics approach" and it's "funding priority given to the National Highway/Interstate System."
On the other end of the spectrum, Streetsblog DC published a helpful guide to HR 7 this morning titled, Six Lies the GOP Is Telling About the House Transportation Bill. Read that post, get informed about what's at stake (a lot), and then pick up the phone and call your Congressional representative.
If you live in Portland or Oregon, your rep is likely already fighting HR7, so consider urging a friend in a different to take action.
Word on the street is that Congressman Earl Blumenauer has called an emergency meeting with Portland-area stakeholders to discuss next steps and other efforts to kill HR7. We'll keep you posted.