Tom Coburn backed down last night from forcing a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration to block federal aid to bike paths and sidewalks. That allows current transportation aid levels to continue into 2012. Thanks to all of you who wrote to senators to keep the bike-walk funds available. There were some 50,000 e-mails from around the country just since last Friday.
It’s reported in Washington today that the Oklahoma Republican’s hardball stand won a big concession from Senate leaders: In the multi-year transportation bill that’s to follow this extension, Coburn would be allowed to add an opt-out rule so states can use their Transportation Enhancments money for roads and other conventional projects that already get 98 percent of the aid. Here are those reports from Politico, and from The Hill.
However, Sen. Barbara Boxer, who as public works chairman is handling the transportation bill, said there’s no opt-out and that there will be dedicated funding for bike-walk uses, whether or not the Enhancements program continues by that name.