THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your speedy and impassioned efforts this week to influence House members on the T&I and Ways and Means committees. We had an extremely limited timeline for action on what Secretary Ray LaHood has called "the worst transportation bill" he's ever seen.
In California as across the nation, we pulled out all the stops for an unprecedented response to ugly proposals before both committees. A few highlights:
Over 600 signers in less than 24 hours to a national letter opposing the Ways and Means proposal to move public transportation and CMAQ funding to the General Fund — 93 from the Golden State alone!
Dozens of phone calls to California Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the Petri amendment to restore dedicated bike/ped funding.
An impromptu phone bank at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference generating 50+ phone calls to Reps. Herger and Nunes on the Ways and Means committee spearheaded by The Prevention Institute.
Participation from unexpected allies like the California Chamber of Commerce, strategic new allies in target districts like Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Growth (Denham's district), and previously reluctant allies like Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen.
Unfortunately, as you've probably heard, both Committees approved their bills without changing the devastating cuts to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian funding that are clearly opposed by a groundswell of Americans. We are sorely disappointed in the House leaders who are pushing an extremely partisan policy package. The Transportation For America Executive Committee met today and decided to formally oppose the Ways and Means bill (H.R. 3864). Please stay tuned for ways you can help.
Our work is cut out for us in the weeks ahead. The next step: gathering sign-ons to our letter to Senator Boxer, with an accelerated deadline of this coming Monday, February 6 at 5pm. Click here to read the letter and sign on ASAP - and THANKS to the dozen folks who have signed on already!
We look to you for continued support as both the House and the Senate plan to hold floor votes on their transportation bills before the Presidents' Day recess. As we've seen this week, House leaders are not in the mood to compromise so we will need to leverage everything we've got to shore up support in the Senate and play defense in the House.
To that end, we will be providing updates on a new blog at http://t4acalifornia.wordpress.com to spare you crazy email overload - and reserving urgent email blasts for critical actions and reminders about coalition phone calls. Please visit the blog to read our summary of the Ways & Means markup and "follow" us to know when we've added posts - and feel free to pirate off the blog to inform your supporters as well.
Do not hesitate to contact either of us with your questions or requests for further information. Again, thank you for all your work this week - we hope you have a wonderful and relaxing weekend!
-Shannon Tracey & Ryan Wiggins
Transportation for America Campaign