House Congressional Resolution 305, also known as the National Bike Bill, has passed through a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.
The resolution — which was introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) back in February — recognizes the importance of bicycling to “enriching the nation’s health, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and improving America’s economic vitality and overall quality of life.”
A statement released from Blumenauer’s office (which incidentally referred to it as the “Blumenauer Bike Resolution”), shared why this piece of legislation is so important (emphasis mine).
“H. Con. Res. 305 documents more than twenty specific, quantifiable benefits that bicycling brings to cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike. It calls on Congress to establish national target levels for increased bicycle use and intermodal travel. The National Bike Bill supports providing federal incentives for adoption of State and local “complete streets” policies, expanding funding for Federal transportation programs that support non-motorized infrastructure and safety enhancements, as well as developing coordinated interstate bicycle routes and bike-friendly land protections, and much more. Lastly, the legislation re-establishes the Interagency Bicycle Task Force, launched after the 1994 report to Congress.”
As a “Concurrent Resolution” the bill must also pass the Senate, but it does not need the president’s signature.
Unfortunately, according to Blumenauer staffers, at this point the bill does not have a Senate sponsor. A natural champion to introduce the bill would be the leader of the 17 member Senate Bike Caucus, but that group has been without any leadership since Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) stepped down.
Meeky Blizzard, who works in Blumenauer’s Portland office says Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has recently agreed to chair the Senate Bike Caucus but she has not stepped forward yet.
In other national bike legislation news, the extension of the transportation fringe tax benefit to bike commuters passed the House last month. The bike commuter benefit is now part of the Renewable Energy & Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 5351). It is also slated for a vote in the Senate.
Stay tuned for updates on both of these important pieces of legislation.