What: All Issues : Environment : Encouragement of Walking and Bicycling as Alternative Means of Transportation : HR 3288. (Fiscal 2010 transportation and housing spending) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would bar the practice of requiring states to use 10 percent of their federal highway dollars for things such as footpaths and bike trails/On agreeing to the amendment (2009 senate Roll Call 277)
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HR 3288. (Fiscal 2010 transportation and housing spending) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would bar the practice of requiring states to use 10 percent of their federal highway dollars for things such as footpaths and bike trails/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 277     Sep 16, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would prohibit the current practice of requiring states to use 10 percent of their federal highway dollars for “transportation enhancement activities,” which include things such as footpaths, bike trails, barriers to keep animals off highways, etc.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds transportation and housing programs in fiscal 2010.

Coburn said in these difficult economic times, it is important to allow states the maximum flexibility with their budgets.

“It does not prohibit the States from doing these enhancements, much as was claimed in debate yesterday but, rather, gives an opportunity for the States to make good value judgments about what is in the best interests of their State in terms of highways, roads, and bridges,” Coburn said.

Patty Murray, D-Wash., said communities are required to prepare comprehensive transportation plans in order to receive federal highway money, including plans for bike and pedestrian paths, “because those transportation plans are meant to be comprehensive, and our national policy, which has been debated on the floor of the Senate and the House, has been to recognize bike and pedestrian paths as one component of a complete transportation system. They cannot constitute the largest part of the system but a plan that ignores that element is incomplete.”

Murray added that this is a fundamental piece of federal transportation planning and that it should be debated as part of a policy bill, not a spending bill.

By a vote of 39-59, the amendment was rejected.  Of Republicans present, 33 voted for the amendment and seven voted against it.  All but five Democrats present voted against the amendment.  The end result is that the bill went forward without language that would have repealed a provision in the law requiring states to spend 10 percent of its highway funding for things such as foot and bike paths.

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