The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey, who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat.
WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on February 26 announced their introduction of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.
This bipartisan legislation will dedicate $500 million in federal funds annually for grants to local, regional, and state government entities to connect walking and biking infrastructure into active transportation networks that allow people to reach destinations within a community, as well as travel between communities, without needing a car.
Nearly half of all trips Americans take are within a 20-minute bicycle ride and more than 20 percent of all trips are within a 20-minute walk.
Shifting some of these trips from driving to walking and bicycling can cost effectively reduce pollution and traffic congestion, while increasing physical activity levels and enhancing mobility for people with disabilities.
“We need a transportation transformation in this country,” said Senator Markey. “Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities are on the rise, and expanding active transportation networks will help address the national safety crisis on our streets. At the same time, significant federal investment in active transportation will help address the climate crisis by reducing driving emissions, as well as ensure that all individuals – no matter their age or ability – can reach their destinations through affordable and healthy travel options. I thank Senators Sullivan and Van Hollen for their partnership on this essential legislation.”
“Alaska’s transportation systems are in need of expansion, and building and connecting pedestrian and trail networks is an important part of bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Senator Sullivan. “This legislation will provide opportunities to compete for significant funding to complete and further expand trails like the Moose Loop, while ensuring that pedestrians and bicyclists are able to travel safely within and between communities in our state.”
“As we work to modernize our transportation infrastructure, it’s crucial that we invest in ways to better connect our communities. Walking and biking routes are a great way to do just that, while improving Americans’ health, reducing congestion on our roadways, and contributing to a healthier environment and better air quality. Maryland is fortunate to have many options for walkers, hikers, and bikers, and this funding will allow us to further expand these networks to connect cities and towns across our state,” said Senator Van Hollen.
A copy of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act can be found HERE.
The legislation is a companion bill to a measure introduced last Congress by Representative Chris Pappas (NH-01). The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act is endorsed by: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling, America Walks, American College of Sports Medicine, American Public Health Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Trails, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, East Coast Greenway, League of American Bicyclists, LOCUS, National Disability Rights Network, National League of Cities, National Recreation and Parks Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Outdoor Industry Association, People for Bikes, Policy Link, Project for Public Spaces, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, Transportation for America, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Trust for America’s Health.
“America’s next federal transportation bill must address critical challenges to our economy, climate, health and safety,” said Kevin Mills, vice president of policy for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. “It’s our chance to create a transportation system that works for everyone, whether or not they drive a car. By calling for federal investment in active transportation systems, Senator Markey, Senator Van Hollen and Senator Sullivan are advancing policy innovation to deliver equitable mobility and economic growth. This bill leverages the country’s 40,000 miles of multiuse trails to help communities and regions connect active transportation infrastructure—trails, bikeways and sidewalks—to create safe, convenient walking and biking routes that get people where they need to go in ways that reduce carbon emissions and create new jobs.”
“We know that connected trail networks have the unique power to knit communities together and drive local economies. Building towards a more sustainable future means prioritizing active transportation and accessible recreation,” said Jenn Dice, CEO at PeopleForBikes. “We’re all-in for the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act because investment in biking and walking infrastructure makes sense for people in rural, suburban and urban areas.”
“Promoting active transportation—including biking and walking—as a safe and viable mode of transportation is essential to addressing climate change and providing people with affordable and convenient transportation choices,” said Scott Goldstein, Policy Director at Transportation for America. “By creating a network of connected trails in our communities, the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act would help make biking and walking a priority. I commend Senators Markey, Sullivan, and Van Hollen for their leadership.”
“More active transportation options are a critical part of thriving communities and a climate-friendly transportation system,” said Ann Shikany, state and federal policy advocate at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “By investing in walkways and bike paths, this measure will help build cleaner, greener and safer communities.”