Rep. Thomas Petri has answered the call from bicyclists to restore $1.2 billion for bike and pedestrian projects eliminated from the transportation bill headed for a committee vote on Thursday.
The Republican from Fond du Lac drafted an amendment that keeps money flowing to states for bike trails, pedestrian improvements and Safe Routes to Schools programs.
In Wisconsin, the transportation department has received more than $6.25 million for such enhancements in 2012, and a total $20.6 million through similar federal grants. The Cannonball Path in Madison, the Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee and bike lanes in Kenosha County are among 60 projects depending on federal dollars.
John Burke, the president of Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle Corp., called on cyclists to support Petri. He joined the mobilization led by the League of American Bicyclists.
They agreed the pending bill is a huge loss for bicycling.
“It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system—a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation,” League officials wrote. “It’s a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.”
Burke sent a note to Trek customers urging them to call Petri and other legislators to reverse the move.
“Bicycling and walking are critical to keeping our communities moving with healthy, safe, and accessible transportation options,” Burke wrote. “Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips, but only 1.5 percent of federal funding.
“And bicycling is good for health and the environment.”