In a not so surprising move, Maryland’s 1st District Representative Andy Harris voted against the Petri/Johnson/Lipinski amendment which would have preserved important funding sources for walking, biking, trails and Safe Routes to School programs. The committee vote was almost along party lines with 27 for to 29 against. That one vote could have made all the difference! Three Republicans deserving recognition for their pro-bike efforts are Representatives Petri, Johnson and LoBiondo
Here’s how Andy Harris’ vote is a disservice to his own district:
1. No Transportation Enhancements (TE) – If you like the Gwynns Falls Trail, Jones Falls Trail or most of the other major trails in Maryland, you will certainly miss the TE program. The Cross Island Trail and coming Harriet Tubman Visitor Center are just two examples of how Transportation Enhancements create jobs and tourism opportunities in the 1st District. TE would be useful in helping Ocean City ‘s plan to extend a bike path the length of the island.
2. No Safe Routes to School – SRTS has been a successful program encouraging kids & parents to safely walk or bike to school. Through education, sidewalk improvements and bike rack placement, SRTS gets kids leading a more active lifestyle. Harris’ vote creates unsafe conditions and promotes a sedentary lifestyle for our children.
3. No Rail Trails – Easton was about to extend some really cool rail- trails following abandoned railroad corridors. Probably not so much now…
4. CMAQ Eliminated – The Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement program helped fund the majority of bike improvements across the country, especially in DC and Chicago.
5. No Traffic Calming – I’m sure Ms. Bevely Moore’s family would like to know that the road she died on could have been improved so others would not have a similar fate.
5. No state or federal support for bicycle & pedestrian projects – Any type of professional review of bike/ped/SRTS projects is now eliminated.
6. No bike/transit connections – The recently completed “Access To Rail” study identifies how to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to Metro, Light Rail and MARC stations in the Baltimore metropolitan region. With the study complete, local jurisdictions can implement the recommendations, if funds are available.
7. No Bridge Access – Access to the Hatum Bridge was always an uphill fight, but now it looks like the only way to get across Maryland is by driving or rolling the dice on Conowingo.