Sen. Pat Toomey is moving the wrong way on active transportation

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As a Pennsylvanian I am proud to see this state leading the nation in building a transportation system that is responsive to the times.

How Americans get around is changing. From job-seekers to schoolchildren and seniors, people are demanding the same thing: safe, convenient pathways to walk and bike for regular transportation.

Unfortunately our own Sen. Pat Toomey hasn’t received that message yet. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee currently considering ways to fund our transportation system, Sen. Toomey’s responsibility is to help set the direction of national transportation policy. But instead of recognizing his constituents’ demand for active transportation infrastructure — facilities for walking and biking — Sen. Toomey is headed in the other direction, proposing eliminating funding for biking and walking facilities from the federal transportation trust fund.

The Transportation Alternatives Program he wants to cut represents almost the entirety of federal government spending on active transportation — just 1.5 percent of surface transportation funding.

Cutting these programs would save a minuscule amount, but the negative fiscal repercussions would be huge. TAP’s success is in leveraging state, local and private funding to support transportation projects. It brings bang for the buck. If Sen. Toomey is really looking to stretch taxpayer dollars further, TAP does it.

Local residents and business leaders testify that trails, walking and biking are transforming their communities — boosting tourism, small businesses and jobs and attracting new residents.

It’s time Sen. Toomey listened to his constituents. He should withdraw his amendment and embrace the modern American transportation system that our communities are moving toward, not the outdated system they are leaving behind.

TOM SEXTON
Director
Northeast Regional Office
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Camp Hill, Pa.


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