The upcoming U.S. House of Representatives transportation bill is considered a disaster by just about every newspaper, as well as conservative organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There are many reasons for the opposition, but basically it diverts all federal transportation money away from public transit, as well as school programs like Safe Routes to School (which are deployed in many Utah communities).
Here are some decent write ups: The New York Times; The Washington Post; The Transport Politic; The Atlantic Cities. There is a ton of information out there, but those links should at least provide a start.
As the recent SOPA/PIPA efforts showed, people can make a difference. I wrote my congressman, Jason Chaffetz, when we were all trying to save the internet, so I decided to write him again now, when we’re trying to save things like public transit, children, and the world generally. If you would also like to write to Rep. Chaffetz, you can do so here.
This is what I wrote to Rep. Chaffetz:
I’m emailing you to express my concern about the upcoming House transportation bill. I’ve read a lot about this bill from a number of different sources of varying partisan allegiance, and frankly I’m quite disheartened. My particular concerns are the lack of funding for Safe Routes to School and the diversion of funding away from “complete streets.”
Utah is an increasingly city-oriented state that is trying to attract business; as a result, we need public and diverse transportation options, and we need programs that help keep kids active and healthy — such as Safe Routes. More broadly, if we in Utah want to lead our nation, we need cutting edge transportation that is clean and efficient. In other words, we need federal funding for public transit as well as roads. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
I realize that Rep. Boehner — who I have heard plans to bring the bill to the floor soon — is a powerful figure in the House. I also understand that partisan loyalty is an important part of the game.
But we in Utah have always been independent and pioneering. We elected you to be as much. It’s also worth mentioning that this bill has been condemned by all sorts of liberal and conservative organizations alike, such as the New York Times, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and The Club for Growth. I have read that many other Republicans have also rejected the bill.
As a concerned citizen representing myself — and expressing the opinions of many friends and family — please oppose a bill that is widely perceived to be backward and regressive. Please act as a steward of our federal money — money that will be spent either way — by ensuring that we have some funds for the transportation of the future.
Thank you for your time and your service