Congressional economic recovery could include bicycles

American agency asking for signed petitions

Wilderness Trails Bikes (WTB) co-founder Mark Slate is passionate about bikes, and sees a historic opportunity for the American cycling community to leverage its green transportation focus to prompt incoming American president Barack Obama to include bicycling on his large-scale economic recovery package.

Within days of President-elect Obama taking office, Congress will likely pass a new large-scale economic recovery package, aiming to create millions of jobs. A significant percentage of this package may be allocated specifically to transportation infrastructure.

According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, this presents both a threat and an opportunity:

"The threat: Unless we speak up, these transportation funds will go overwhelmingly to road projects—the same unbalanced strategy that has created our existing transportation problems.

The opportunity: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, in partnership with Thunderhead Alliance and America Bikes, has collected a list of hundreds of ready-to-go active transportation projects from communities across the country. These projects would create new jobs and revitalize communities by funding trails, bike lanes, sidewalks and other infrastructure.

This would meet the ultimate goal of the recovery package: creating immediate jobs. Additionally, such an investment strategy would provide both immediate economic benefits and lasting positive change.

The long-term benefits are many: promoting local businesses along active transportation corridors; reducing health care costs; and curbing climate change emissions and oil dependency. These projects would also establish the principle that active transportation infrastructure is a wise, efficient and desirable public investment.

Please sign our petition to President-elect Obama and key congressional leaders, encouraging them to fund these important bicycle and pedestrian projects:

I support explicit funding for trails, walking and biking in the upcoming economic recovery package. Funding active transportation is a cost-effective investment that creates jobs and leads to healthier people, stronger communities, decreased oil dependency, and reduced climate change emissions."

To sign the petition, click here.

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