Mick Cornett, Republican Mayor of Oklahoma City along with Eugene A. Conti, Jr., Secretary of Transportation, N.C. and Steve Heminger, Exec. Dir., Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission have written an editorial in The Hill urging the House to reconsider many of the controversial measures in the current transportation bill including the removal of funding for both walking and bicycling initiatives. After thanking the House for restoring funding to public transportation and asking for an effective bridge repair plan, the editorial goes on to ask the House to restore both Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancement funding:
We also would like to see House leaders restore dedicated funding for programs that make local communities safer for bicycling and walking. Given what a tiny share of the transportation budget it represents, we can’t see any advantage in killing these programs. But we see a lot of good in continuing to help towns revitalize their Main Streets and connect neighborhoods to make it safer for kids to walk or bicycle to school, getting some exercise in the process.
Many of the more dangerous roads for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike in our communities are federal-aid highways. House leaders have said fixing these unsafe conditions is a local problem, or a frill we can do without. We strongly disagree, and we urge them to restore dedicated funds for this purpose.
I take it as a personal relief to know that there is real support for walking and cycling in OKC city government. While I don’t always agree with how the city implements and maintains its cycling and walking infrastructure, I think the mayor and city council should be thanked for being dedicated to the process of making Oklahoma City a better place for active transportation.