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.

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