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News / Blog Advocacy News
Advocacy News

BikeTexas Supports Austin's Bond Package

 
Austin City Council Moves Forward with the Largest Transportation Bond Proposal in the City's History
 
BikeTexas is going to work hard to make it happen in November.
 

Austin City Council worked into the wee hours Friday morning before passing, on an 8-3 vote, the largest transportation bond package in the city’s history. $120 million of the proposed $720 million is designated towards active transportation in Austin--urban trails, protected bike lanes, sidewalks, and Safe Routes to School. BikeTexas is proud to stand with Mayor Adler and support this bond proposal.

BikeTexas has been meeting with council members to discuss the November bond election since September 2015. Over the past nine months, we've urged the mayor and city council to pass a balanced package that includes significant resources for active transportation, including Complete Streets.

After compromise from all sides, the inclusive package will now go to City staff for development of bond language. In August, the City Council will determine whether a bond referendum will go before the voters in November. This plan is poised to make a transformational change for active transportation in Austin. 

To pass such an ambitious bond in November's election, it will be crucial for all sides to come together. This bond has inspired vigorous discussion and community input, and we look forward to working shoulder-to shoulder with all segments of Austin’s community to make these bonds a reality in November.

Many folks worked hard on this bond package, and we offer special thanks to Mayor Adler for his strategic thinking on Austin's transportation future. Council Member Ann Kitchen's wisdom and commitment to the best interest of her district and the city of Austin as a whole have been invaluable in getting this bond package passed by the city council. Additionally, the Mayor’s and Council Member’s staffs worked tirelessly to craft as inclusive a package as possible for Austin's current and future transportation needs.

BikeTexas is particularly proud of our work and our supporters’ work in this effort. We’ve seen dramatic improvement in active transportation funding over any previous bond election and over objections raised early in the process by those who are less committed to an Austin that supports and encourages active transportation. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting this bond passed in November.

BikeTexas will be on the lookout for federal or state grant opportunities so the City of Austin can leverage these local active transportation bonds to build out the bicycle and sidewalk master plans.

 
BikeTexas' Leslie Luciano addresses the Austin City Council late Thursday night.
 

Advocate of the Year, Fernando Martinez

Fernando Martinez Advocate of the YearBikeTexas is proud to announce that our own Fernando Martinez has been named Advocate of the Year by the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Fernando received his award as part of the National Bike Summit on March 7.

In his 10 years of bicycle advocacy with BikeTexas, Fernando has worked tirelessly as the program manager of BikeTexas' educational programs, which have reached over two million Texas children. Most recently, Fernando has spent two years in Brownsville working in the BikeTexas RGV program, working alongside local advocates and city leaders to activate Brownsville's Bicycle Master Plan. Brownsville was recently named a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, a testament to the hard work of Fernando, BikeTexas, and the committed local community.

BikeTexas congratulates Fernando on his achievement, and we're delighted that he has brought the Advocate of the Year award back home to Texas.

   

Nominate a Local Leader for a Trails of Texas Award

dr rose gowen ttat 2104 award winner brownsville texasHas someone in your community gone above and beyond to support, plan, implement, or promote local trails? Is there a trails hero you know who is going unsung? Now's the time to start singing! Nominate your local trails leader for a Trails of Texas Award, presented by the Texas Trails Network and awarded at the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference. Hurry-- nomination deadline is February 15.

Please note: while we'd love nothing more than for you to be present when we surprise your nominee, your attendance at TTAT 2016 is not required for you to nominate someone--so get creative and think of who you could recognize!

Find the Trails of Texas Awards nomination form and more details here.

 

Photo: 2014 Texas Trails Award Winner Dr. Rose Gowen and other Brownsville delegates

   

Be a Texas Delegate at the National Bike Summit in March

texas delegation with texas senator john cornyn national bike summit 2015Join the Texas Delegation at the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., March 7-9! Hear from inspiring speakers and see what's happening for bikes around the country. On Lobby Day, visit the office of every Texas member of Congress and tell them how important bicycles and active transportation are to you. Let us know you're going so we can connect you with the Texas coordinator. Don't miss out!

Learn more and register for the National Bike Summit.

   

FAST Act Passed! Send Your U.S. Rep an Email

Congress passed the new federal transportation law-- Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act--last week, and the president signed it on Friday.

nbs15 texas delegation with senator cornyn biketexas

The good news? Despite many attacks on active transportation funding throughout the process, dedicated funding remains for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as education and safety goals. For the first time, states will be required to report back on the progress they're making toward reducing active transportation fatalities, and highway builders for all US DOT roads must consider all users when planning a roadway. These are tremendous steps forward for the federal bill.

There are still concerns with the FAST Act-- TxDOT will still be allowed to transfer some dedicated bike/ped money to other uses, and for the first time, large MPOs will be allowed to do the same. US DOT will write guidance for states and communities on how to best implement the new laws, and then it will be up to TxDOT and Texas MPOs to write their own policies within the new law. We'll be there every step of the way to remind them that Texans want great places to bike and walk.

Now is a great time to remind our members of Congress that people who bike are also people who vote! How did your representative vote on the FAST Act? See below for the list of who in the Texas delegation voted yes or no on this bill. If your representative voted yes, send a quick email to say thanks! If he or she voted no, it's still a good time to reach out and share your concerns. See suggested talking points below for thanks or concern. Not sure who your representatives are? Check out Who Represents Me? to find your U.S. representative, plus links to both Texas senators.

Thank you for staying in contact with your representatives during this process. You make a difference!

Photo: Texas delegation at the 2015 National Bike Summit with Senator Cornyn.

 

We've found the following format to be useful when contacting elected officials:

To say THANK YOU:

1. My name is _________ and my occupation is __________. I live and ride my bike in District ___. 

2. Thank you for voting for H.R. 22. This law allows for dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as education and safety programs that benefit people who walk and ride bikes. I appreciate that you supported this bill.

3. [Tell the representative why this is important to you-- do your kids ride? Do you rely on a bike for transportation? Do you ride for your health? Keep it to 1-2 sentences.]

4. Thank you again for supporting people who walk and ride bikes in Texas.

To share your concerns:

1. My name is _________ and my occupation is __________. I live and ride my bike in District ___. 

2. I'm sorry to hear that you did not support H.R. 22. This law allows for dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as education and safety programs that benefit people who walk and ride bikes. Since I ride a bike in your district, I would have hoped for your support.

3. [Tell the representative why this is important to you-- do your kids ride? Do you rely on a bike for transportation? Do you ride for your health? Keep it to 1-2 sentences.]

4. Thank you for your time.

 

How did the Texas Delegation vote?

Senate: John Cornyn Yes; Ted Cruz No

See the full list of yea and nay votes on senate.gov.

House (in district order):

District 1, Louie Gohmert: No

District 2, Ted Poe: Yes

District 3, Sam Johnson: Did not vote

District 4, John Ratcliffe: No

District 5, Jeb Hensarling: No

District 6, Joe Barton: Yes

District 7, John Culberson: No

District 8, Kevin Brady: Yes

District 9, Al Green: Yes

District 10, Michael McCaul: Yes

District 11, Michael Conaway: Yes

District 12, Kay Granger: Yes

District 13, Mac Thornberry: Yes

District 14, Randy Weber: No

District 15, Rubén Hinojosa: Yes

District 16, Beto O'Rourke: Yes

District 17, Bill Flores: No

District 18, Sheila Jackson Lee: Yes

District 19, Randy Neugebauer: No

District 20, Joaquin Castro: Yes

District 21, Lamar Smith: No

District 22, Pete Olson: Yes

District 23, Will Hurd: Yes

District 24, Kenny Marchant: No

District 25, Roger Williams: Did not vote

District 26, Michael Burgess: No

District 27, Blake Farenthold: Yes

District 28, Henry Cuellar: Did not vote

District 29, Gene Green: Yes

District 30, Eddie Johnson: Yes

District 31, John Carter: Yes

District 32, Pete Sessions: Yes

District 33, Marc Veasey: Yes

District 34, Filemoon Vela: Yes

District 35, Lloyd Doggett: Yes

District 36, Brian Babin: Yes

See the full list of yea and nay votes on house.gov.

   

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