Stim Bill About to Enter Final Negotiations

Negotiators from the House and Senate are set to begin talks finalizing the stimulus bill at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, Reuters reports. While a topline figure of $789 billion has apparently been agreed to in principle, the devil is in the details, and there’s still time to speak up for investment in green transportation and livable streets.

Yesterday we posted the Senate negotiating team. Now we have the House side: Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI); Appropriations Ranking Member Jeff Lewis (R-CA); Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, (D-NY); Ways & Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI); Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA). You can look up contacts here.

One missing element in the Senate version of the bill is guaranteed funding for Transportation Enhancements — a critical source of federal support for bike and pedestrian projects. The Thunderhead Alliance, a national bike advocacy group, is urging supporters to call their representatives and tell them the final bill should include Transportation Enhancements, like the House version.

New York City Streetsbloggers should call Rangel’s DC and district offices — (202) 225-4365 and (212) 663-3900 — to drive the point home with a key negotiator.

Tips and talking points from Thunderhead posted after the jump:

When you make the calls (a total of two calls), tell the person who answers the phone the following message:

  • My name is ______ , I  live in New York, and I have a message for Representative Rangel about the economic recovery bill.
  • Please ask the Representative to support explicit funding for the Transportation Enhancements program in the final economic recovery bill, as provided for in the House bill.

The person answering the phone may ask for your contact information.  It is unlikely he or she will ask you any questions, but if so, please use the following talking points:

  • The Transportation Enhancements program will allow bicycle and pedestrian projects to be funded as part of the economic recovery — which will create construction jobs, use construction materials, get local businesses working, and help Main Street economies.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian improvements give families healthy and affordable transportation options to access their workplaces, schools, and public transit. 
  • Better biking and walking options also help ensure greater energy independence, less pollution, and a healthier country.
  • Called the 212 first. The staffer told me he wasn’t familiar with the “Transportation Enhancements program” and I explained it. He suggested I call Rangel’s DC office. They didn’t ask what it was or give any response other than ‘Thank You.’

  • Call the DC office and before 3 PM if you can.

  • Any word on whether the final version that just passed had any of the transportation enhancements in it?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Senate Approves Stimulus Bill — On to Conference Committee

|
Transportation Enhancements funding helped to expand Roberto Clemente Plaza at the Bronx Hub. The League of American Bicyclists has issued an action alert to keep that program in the stimulus bill. The Senate approved its version of the stimulus bill this afternoon by a 61-37 vote. Attention now turns to conference committee negotiations, where differences […]

Lawmakers Pitch Transport Funding Ideas, From VMT to Freight Taxes

|
Leaders of the House transportation committee, doggedly pursuing a six-year, $450 billion infrastructure bill this year, pressed their case this morning before Ways and Means Committee colleagues who must approve a new funding mechanism for their massive legislation. On transport funding, a question looms: Whither Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY)? (Photo: BusinessWeek) […]

Lawmakers Cross Party Lines on Transpo Funding as Debate Rages

|
An 18-month extension of existing transportation law cleared the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, but not before spirited debate on a proposal billed as a compromise with House members who remain strongly opposed to the Senate’s stopgap. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate environment committee (Photo: Politics Now) The "clean" re-upping of […]

Oberstar Stands Firm on Transportation Bill, Gets Industry Backup

|
In case any doubts remained about his willingness to challenge the White House and the Senate on prompt passage of a long-term infrastructure bill, House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar’s (D-MN) op-ed in the Politico Monday should clear them up: House transport committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN). Photo: Capitol Chatter Unfortunately, the administration and some […]