October 28, 2011
RE: Action Needed to Protect Federal Transportation Enhancement Program
On November 1st, the Senate will resume its consideration of H.R. 2112 - the "minibus" spending package that contains three spending bills. Among those that will be considered is S. 1596 – the spending reauthorization for the Federal Department of Transportation and for Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is likely the amendment (#821) will be considered early in the process.
That amendment would redirect funding for Transportation Enhancement projects to bridge repair. Certainly our nation's bridges need support. However, targeting the Transportation Enhancements program - which only represents 2% of the entire federal transportation funding stream - does not make sense. This amendment, in fact, would provide so little additional funding for bridges that it would take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs and achieve "success." And in the process - the largest source of federal historic preservation funding would be lost.
Transportation Enhancements (TE) activities are federally funded, community-based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure. TE projects must be one of 12 eligible activities and must relate to surface transportation. For example, projects can include creation of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscape improvements, refurbishment of historic transportation facilities, and other investments that enhance communities and access. The federal government provides funding for TE projects through our nation's surface transportation legislation. For a complete description of the 12 activities, visit http://www.enhancements.org/12_activities.asp. For a list of some projects that have been funded in our State, visit http://www.enhancements.org/projectlist_search.asp.
We urge you to contact Senators Menendez and Lautenberg and ask them to vote “NO” on amendment #821 to S.1596, which would redirect all Transportation Enhancement Program funding to bridge repair.
If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.