Additional information on the Cardin-Cochran agreement
Maintain the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement to Additional Activities in the transportation conference bill. Please reject the House offer to make Additional Activities optional.
In the Senate Transportation Bill MAP-21 and in the Senate draft offer, the Additional Activities fund combines Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School with a variety of other eligibilities. The Cardin-Cochran agreement amended Additional Activities to allow local governments to compete for these funds for local transportation projects.
The Cardin-Cochran agreement does the following:
• Devolves a small portion of federal transportation funds through suballocation and competition to local governments—whose leaders know the transportation needs of their constituents best.
• Provides flexibility and funding certainty to local planning entities to ensure that a portion of their gas taxes are utilized to address the transportation needs in their communities.
• Allows local governments and MPOs to decide what types of projects to apply for in competing for Additional Activities funds. Eligible projects include biking and walking improvements.
The recent House counteroffer allows states to opt out of the Additional Activities fund, thus pitting state control against local control. By allowing states to opt out of Additional Activities funding, the House counter-offer could prevent local governments from accessing funds for small-scale, local transportation projects.
The House counteroffer would prevent local governments from competing for funds to undertake small, local transportation projects that vastly improve street safety and local economic competitiveness.
Why this action is needed:
We ask you to urge your Senators and House Member to back the Senate Cardin-Cochran agreement that protects local access to transportation funding and bike infrastructure for the following reasons:
• Local communities need modest but critical federal funds for road improvements, such as bicycling infrastructure. These funds allow communities to afford improvements that vastly improve safety and address local priorities (Personalize your story with specifics about your community.)
• Everyone deserves to be safe. We agree that we must keep motorists safe, but the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists are important too. Nearly 5,000 Americans die each year biking or walking on our nation’s roads.
• Funds do not need to be diverted to bridge repair projects since states don't spend all the money they already receive for bridge repairs. Some Members of Congress cite bridge repairs as a reason to divert bicycle funding; yet last year, states sent $530 million of unspent bridge funds back to Washington in rescissions. States are leaving bridge repair funds on the table, unspent, year after year, while many localities cannot afford bicycle and pedestrian projects to make roads safer.