BikePortland

Congressmen Blumenauer and Buchanan introduce $30 million ‘vision zero’ grant programs


My ride with Earl Blumenauer-1.jpg
Blumenauer would like to be safer on the road.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On the same week that the nation’s bike advocates roll onto Capitol Hill for the National Bike Summit, U.S. House Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) have introduced the Vision Zero Act of 2015 (H.R. 1274).

The bill would set aside grants worth $30 million for cities to plan and implement road safety projects.

In a statement, Blumenauer’s office said the bill is a recognition that “communities across the country are recognizing that there is only one number of acceptable deaths on our streets: zero.” The goal of the legislation is ambitious: “eliminating all transportation-related fatalities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and passengers.”

Blumenauer and Buchanan are co-chairs of the Congressional Bike Caucus.

The Vision Zero Act creates two new US Department of Transportation grant programs. One sets aside $5 million a year for communities to develop Vision Zero plans, the other grant will award five communities a share of $25 million to implement their plans.

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While this is federal legislation, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat is already showing her support. Treat, fresh off testifying in front of lawmakers in Salem yesterday for the first time in support of a speed camera bill, said in the official statement, “People of all ages and abilities deserve safe streets that support multimodal uses. We appreciate Congress’ support to help cities across the country develop and implement comprehensive safety programs that will not only save lives, but add to the resiliency of the urban environment.”

The Vision Zero Act is also supported by AAA. Their Federal Affairs Director Avery Ash said their studies show more than five in six drivers support state actions to work toward zero traffic deaths.

To learn more about H.R. 1247 and track its progress, visit Congress.gov.

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