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Public Statements

Hire more Heroes Act of 2015

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WELCH. Madam Chairman, one of the major challenges for a
comprehensive transportation bill is to have it facilitate the creation
of livable communities, and we have, across this country, more and more
communities that, as part of creating that space for good
transportation, want to include and have included bike paths.

Biking transportation has become a real attraction for younger people
who are moving into urban areas. It is something that has taken cars
off the road and has put people on bikes. People are getting exercise
and are finding beautiful ways to get around their communities. It is
something that adds to the overall quality of life in communities
across the country. It used to be that biking was seen as something
that just individuals would do. It is now seen, as a result of
transportation policy, as integral to a livable community approach.

In the current legislation before us, the Federal match would be
reduced from 90 and 95 percent to 80 percent. This amendment would propose to
keep the status quo, keeping that Federal contribution at 90 to 95
percent. It makes a huge difference in our communities to get that
extra boost as it makes a difference as to whether or not they can
proceed on some bikeway improvements. So let's keep what we have. We
have a good thing going. With this amendment, the ability to keep it
going will be even stronger.

In Vermont, bike commuting has increased by over 70 percent from 2005
to 2014. Vermont has 19 bike and pedestrian facility projects across
the State, totaling $38.9 million. There is a lot of local money in
that. By the way, the young and old and middle-aged are all getting
out, taking advantage of those things. Burlington has proposed a fully
integrated bike network, and this amendment would help that city in
Vermont complete that goal.

The benefits to biking are tremendous. It is good for the
environment. It is good for us when we get on bikes and get a little
exercise. It is a good healthcare benefit. It is good for taking cars
and congestion off the road. There are incidental benefits and
economic. It has been demonstrated in Vermont that there are
significant revenue gains to local businesses by having as robust a
bike system as we can have.

In summary, biking is integral in Vermont and in the Nation. Earl
Blumenauer is the patron of biking in this country. It is a really big,
important component, and I urge the passage of this amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WELCH. Madam Chairman, I have one comment.
We have a budgetary issue because we don't have as robustly funded a
transportation bill as we need. I appreciate the comments of the
chairman of the committee, but that problem is something that is going
to be hamstringing every activity we do, whether it is mass transit or
bikes. My hope is that, by the end of this process, we are finally
going to put the money into our infrastructure--every component of it
that we need.

I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer),
my friend, who we all know in the United States House of
Representatives is the champion of bikers everywhere.


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