Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 8th, 2017 at 7:58 am
Hundreds of advocates are on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. today to remind members of Congress that bicycling — and transportation reform in general — is a high priority for the American people.
Lobby day is one of the most important elements of the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit. It’s a time for advocates to make a personal connection with their elected representatives, share stories about why bicycling matters, and make specific “asks” for bills and policies to support.
“No one knows what to expect or what’s going to come up.”
— Caron Whitaker, League of American Bicyclists federal policy director
The League works with coordinators from each state to create a game plan and a schedule of meetings in the House and Senate office buildings. Typically the focus is on building support for parts of the transportation bill — but with so few details known about Trump’s infrastructure plans, this year is a bit different.
League Federal Policy Director Caron Whitaker shared last night that the defining word around transportation on the Hill right now is “uncertainty.” “No one knows what to expect or what’s going to come up,” she said. “That’s uncomfortable.”
In this context, the official “asks” we’re making of Senators and House Reps are simple: Will you support biking and walking investments in any transportation package that gets introduced? And on the House side, the ask is to support the Vision Zero bill introduced last week by Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Vern Buchanan.
To help make the case, the Oregon delegation has folders for each meeting with leave-behinds. This year we’re highlighting two major trail projects — the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and the Oregon Timber Trail.
To supplement our case for bicycling on a national level, the League has provided compelling data and charts. The one below will likely be very influential. It shows that biking and walking projects (like paths, sidewalks, and greenways) create more jobs per million dollars spent than other types of infrastructure:
I’ll be tagging along with Oregon advocates all day. Stay tuned for a full report.