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Notes from climbing Capitol Hill: May 24, 2019

Every day, the League is working to promote and protect bicyclists’ rights at the federal level. Here are notes from Caron Whitaker, our vice president of government relations, on her work and the conversations happening on the Hill this week. Subscribe to the League’s newsletter to learn about our action alerts as they happen or join the League to support our advocacy work every day. 

Don’t be distracted by the infrastructure bill being put on hold.

There is real work still being done in the congressional committees writing transportation policy. We expect to see a Senate committee vote on the highway and roads section of the bill before August. The committees are working to meet a deadline of September 30, 2020. That is when the current transportation law expires. In contrast, the infrastructure bill would have been a one-time investment.

The League has been advocating for key changes in the transportation reauthorization bill that would 1.) increase investment inbicycling and walking infrastructure, 2.) improve safety (see the next point below), 3.) give states and local governments better planning tools, and 4.) create a pilot program to implement disaster relief trials using bicycles.

SAFE Streets bill to be introduced next week. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Brownley (CA-26) and Rep. Espaillat (NY-13) would require states to invest federal dollars in areas where there are above average fatalities of bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users. Learn more about the League’s asks here.

This concept is one the League has been advocating for at the National Bike Summit, and that our Board Member Mike Sewell testified aboutin front of the House Transportation Committee in April. He was the first witness to testify before Congress from a bicycling organization since 2011.

BUILD grant funding at $1 Billion for 2020? 

The House of Representatives took its first step in deciding funding levels for the BUILD grant program. This program allows local governments and states to apply for funding for projects that can be difficult to build under regular funding programs including multimodal projects, projects that cross state boundaries, etc. 

Complete streets and active transportation projects often do well under this grant program.

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