US Senate passes transportation bill

Today, the U.S. Senate passed a new authorization bill for surface transportation programs called MAP-21. This bill, passed by a vote of 74-22, will consolidate transportation programs without eliminating funding for active transportation initatives.

It provides states with flexibility to fund important local priorities while encouraging multi-modal transportation networks. The bill preserves dedicated funding for transit and reinstates parity between tax benefits for parking and transit (which was eliminated at the end of 2011). A positive bill, for sure. 

It is not the final vote, however. The House of Representatives is currently deadlocked on their priorities. And the House goals are far apart from the Senate and President Obama. It will likely be a while before this issue is resolved.

The Active Transportation Alliance continues to work with its national partners to ensure that federal funding priorities include bicycling, walking and transit. Active Trans board and staff members will attend the National Bike Summit next week, joining more than 700 other advocates to press for more federal funding for active transportation.

Durbin voted 'Yea' in favor of transport bill

Thanks to everyone who called our representatives about the transportation funding for alternative transportation. Senator Durbin voted in favor of passing the bill (Kirk still recouperating and did not vote).

If you called Senator Durbin to ask for his favorable vote on the legislation, you may want to call and thank him for his vote and reiterate how valuable the alternative transportation is to us!

In related news... We still need to press our state senators and reps about Illinois Senate Bill 3236, the Motor Fuel Rate Bill. The Revenue Committee received this bill on Feb 22 and sat on it. They did nothing, so by rule was referred to the Assignments Committee. We still have some work to do on this one to help secure funding for alternative transportation.

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