Wednesday, March 5, 2014

No hope Congress passed fewer than 1% of bills introduced in 2013

The record is clear that, even with supposed bi-partisan
support, this bill still has little chance of passing.

ACTive Communities Transportation. Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act. The American Power Act. Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011. These are are just a few of the bills that could have improved non-motorized transportation over the past several years - some greatly. Yet all failed in one way or the other, and were not enacted into law.

History aside, we applaud Bike Delaware's lobbying efforts at the National Bike Summit. They will be meeting today with Representative John Carney, as well as Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and asking for their endorsement of HR3494 and S1708. Known as the "Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Act", this bill directs the Secretary of Transportation (DOT) - under the highway safety improvement program - to establish performance measures for states to use to assess significant reductions in the number of serious injuries and fatalities for both motorized and non-motorized transportation.

It is difficult, if not impossible to have confidence that this bill will pass, and not end up like the others before it. It should be noted that when 2013 began, members of Congress introduced 6,366 pieces of legislation. 12 months later, with the session nearly over, less than 1% of these bills actually passed. By December 21, 2013, the House and Senate had approved only 58 measures - the lowest for a single year since 1947.

In a word, the U.S. Congress is functionally useless, and bicycle & pedestrian safety (at the national level) and any funding it requires is is no exception. An internet search reveals nothing in terms of successful legislation in at least the last 5 years. Only the stripping of Transportation Enhancements in favor of MAP-21, along with several other assaults aimed at the elimination of bicycle and pedestrian funding from the Federal Transportation Budget.

We believe that energy expended on Capitol Hill would be far more effective at the state level. There are multiple on-road safety projects and proposals here in Delaware that would benefit greatly from Bike Delaware's (as well as the League of American Bicyclist's) interest and support.

Related: Who is advocating for on-road safety in Delaware (4 part series)

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