February 17, 2012 in Complete Streets
BIXBY – In a mass email sent Friday, Rep. John Sullivan announced he will hold a town hall meeting in Bixby on Feb. 22.
The meeting will be held at 6pm at the Rivercrest Event Center located at 13329 S. Memorial Dr.
Sullivan’s town hall presents an excellent opportunity for constituents to make their views known on the House transportation bill, HR-7, that would completely eliminate dedicated funding for bicycle/pedestrian projects, dedicated funding for mass transit, and the Safe Routes to School program.
“Town hall meetings like this give me a great opportunity to hear directly from you, my constituents,” said Sullivan in the email. “So many of the best ideas come from you and I want to give you all a chance to have your voices heard.”
Those who attend the meeting will have the opportunity to encourage Sullivan to vote no on HR-7 or support the bipartisan Petri (pronounced pea-TRY) Amendment that would preserve dedicated funding for activities that previously qualified for federal funding under Transportation Enhancements (TE) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS).
The Petri Amendment consolidates TE and SRTS into the Transportation Improvement Program and would ensure that local governments — cities and counties — would have an opportunity to weigh in on transportation decisions. Cities like Bixby and Tulsa could use the money to improve biking and walking in their communities if they choose.
Petri’s previous amendment to HR-7 that aimed to restore dedicated funding to bike/ped programs failed by only two votes. Sullivan could be a key swing vote to put Petri’s new amendment over the top. This go around, Petri’s amendment focuses on ensuring local governments have a voice in decisions on how to use the funds.
The way the bill is currently written, funding for bike-pedestrian programs would no longer be required to be used on bike-ped projects, and the money would be given to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, whose core competency is building highways. It is unlikely ODOT would decide to spend the money on bike-ped projects in such a scenario.
The amendment’s original cosponsors include Representatives Petri, Johnson, Lipinski, LaTourette, Blumenauer, and E. B. Johnson.