In light of the very scary prospect of the Highway Trust Fund running out of money in August or September, key House and Senate Committees each voted out bills yesterday, moving a rescue package closer to reality.
Don’t know what the Highway Trust Fund is? Well, read up on this HTF primer published earlier this week by the Washington Post.
The good news for bicycling and walking advocates is that, yay!, neither bill eliminates the tiny dedicated funding program called “Transportation Alternatives Program,” or TAP in DC parlance.
Taking TAP out of the funding mix was a possibility, as our own Senator Pat Toomey discussed by introducing just such an amendment when the Senate Finance Committee first in late June. Thankfully, Senator Toomey did NOT raise it in yesterday’s committee meeting. What accounts for this turn of heart? An outpouring of protests from all corners was directed his way when his amendment became public. We are grateful that the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, made up of a wide variety of transportation interests, weighed in and sent Senator Toomey a letter asking him not to pursue such an amendment.
Lastly, our friends at Rails to Trails Conservancy published this very good op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the issue.