Bicycle Commuter Act is Signed Into Law
After seven long years, the bicycle commuter tax provision is now law, and the League of American Bicyclists is taking the lead to ensure that the implementation guidelines are established prior to the provision’s effective date: January 1, 2009.

“We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change.” Thanks also to all of you around the country who have contacted your congressional leaders over the years. Check out the League of American Bicyclists for frequently asked questions about the provision.

Amtrak Funding Doubles
President George W. Bush signed legislation that boosts funding for Amtrak and other passenger-rail services, setting up a broader debate next year over federal transportation spending that highlights differences between the two major candidates seeking to succeed President Bush. The legislation provides roughly $13 billion for Amtrak and passenger-rail funding over five years, nearly double current spending levels. The bill also contains a mandate for rail operators to equip trains with collision-avoidance technology that could have prevented the head-on crash in California that killed 25 people.

Congressman Oberstar Announces Grant to Study Duluth/Twin Cities Rail Line
A federal grant will move the Duluth-to-Minneapolis high-speed passenger rail line closer to completion.  On September 30th, Congressman Jim Oberstar announced that the project has been awarded $1.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration. The funding will be used to complete an environmental impact statement for the project. “Work on the Northern Lights Express is moving along at full throttle,” said Oberstar. “This is the kind of project that will save energy and alleviate congestion on our highways.  With high fuel prices, we need to do all we can to give consumers alternatives to driving.” If implemented, the Northern Lights Express will run 150 miles from Duluth to downtown Minneapolis at speeds of up to 110 mph.  According to Congressman Oberstar, portions of the line could become operational by the end of next year.                      
                        
                               

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Public Officials, and Transportation Experts Call on Next President and Congress to Move America Out of Economic Peril by Investing in Transportation
On the eve of the final Presidential debate
at Hofstra University, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, public officials,
and national transportation experts called on the next President and
Congress to move America out of economic peril by investing in a
transportation system that creates jobs, saves Americans money, and
reduces our oil dependence. “Our
presidential candidates have voted to bail out Wall Street, and it’s
now time for both candidates and Congress to start talking about how
they will invest in Main Street,” says Lea Schuster, Executive Director
of Transit for Livable Communities. “America’s transportation system —
the backbone of our economy for decades — is broken. Rather than
increase our oil addiction and limit ourselves to building more roads
and highways, let’s get our economy — and Americans — moving again by
building a 21st-century transportation system.”

How Would You Spend $50 Million: One Mile of an Urban Highway or Hundreds of Miles of Bicycling and Walking Infrastructure?
A report issued today by the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC)
quantifies, for the first time, the benefits that America can expect
from elevating the priority of bicycling and walking in our nation’s
transportation system. For the price of a single mile of a four-lane
urban highway, approximately $50 million, hundreds of miles of bicycle
and pedestrian infrastructure can be built, an investment that could
complete an entire network of places to walk and bike in a mid-sized
city.