Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Congress passes bills to make trains, schools, more bike-friendly

Posted by on June 17th, 2008 at 9:23 am

Walk and Bike to School Day

An amendment to a “green” schools
bill will help with funding
for bike access.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In an illustration that the political winds on transportation are shifting comes news of two bike-friendly bills that have recently passed through the U.S. House of Representatives.

In an effort to make Amtrak more bike-friendly, last Wednesday (6/11), the House passed H.R. 6003, “The Rail Passenger Improvement and Investment Act.” The bill reauthorizes Amtrak’s funding through 2013 (the the first re-authorization in 11 years).

This bill included an amendment to include funding for bike racks and increased bicycle access into rolling stock (i.e., railcars).

According to staffers at Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office (he has worked to pass the legislation), the Senate passed a similar bill late last year and they expect this amendment to pass and become part of the bill that lands on the President’s desk.

On June 4, the House passed H.R. 3021, “The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act.” That bill provides grants to state educational agencies for the “green” modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities.

Congressman Blumenauer worked to include an amendment on that bill (with Rep. Ron Klein from Florida) to allow the funds to be used to improve bike facilities and to encourage bike and pedestrian access. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

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  • SkidMark June 17, 2008 at 9:48 am

    When I went to Seattle, Amtrak charged me 5 bucks to put my bike in the baggage car. It goes on a hook similar to on the MAX, but a bit more secure. I think there are 4 bike hooks/racks. I was seated in the car adjacent to it, so I could look through a window and see my bike. You are given a claim check too.

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  • toddistic June 17, 2008 at 9:54 am

    sweet! I\’m planning to take the train out to Montana and wanted to bring my bike.

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  • brodie June 17, 2008 at 10:02 am

    two things about that. first, not all trains have that service (some make you box it up) and second, make sure you reserve your bike spot! on the train i took back from seattle on friday, they ran out of spots, and one unlucky traveller had to leave his bike behind. other than that, it was awesome. best way to travel.

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  • Jessica Roberts June 17, 2008 at 11:39 am

    The Cascade line (between Portland & Seattle) is awesome for bikes! Love the roll-on with a hook. I use it nearly every month for work. And yes, you do have to reserve a spot, especially on summer weekends.

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  • Steve Pappert June 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    toddistic when are you going to montana? and where to? I am planing a trip right now in August, was thinking about riding from shelby to Livingston. If you have any good tips or experience I would love to hear.

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  • Matt Picio June 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Amtrak Cascades is the only Amtrak train in the NW currently offering the enhanced bike service. As SkidMark said, it costs $5. There are 6 hooks per car. Amtrak Cascades shuttles between Eugene and Vancouver B.C.

    Hopefully this bill will mean they will add the service to the Coast Starlighter and the Empire Builder.

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  • Joe June 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    This is Great News! train and bike, so cool
    5 bucks is a nice rate. I remember the box days 🙁

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  • Jean Reinhardt June 17, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Fucking fabulous! I have used the Amtrak Cascades a number of times–lets you ride to one train station and away from the other–for both business and pleasure. It\’s format should be a model for the whole system.

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  • revphil June 18, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    id love to see Greyhound provide similar facilities. There is usually lots of empty space under those buses. Boxes r 4 sux!

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