For Immediate Release: June 28, 2012
Trust for America’s Health Statement on the Surface Transportation Bill: Misses the Opportunity to Promote Active Transportation and Improve Health
Washington, DC, June 28, 2012 – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) finds the surface transportation reauthorization conference agreement lacking, as it fails to promote active transportation (bicycling, walking and use of mass transit), and consequently misses the opportunity to make the healthy choice easier for Americans who want to get and stay healthy.
The following is a statement from Jeff Levi, Executive Director of TFAH, who also serves as Chair of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
“The agreement announced today on the surface transportation reauthorization bill will take our nation’s transportation policy several steps backwards. In addition, the bill does not adequately fund active transportation programs, falling short of promoting activities known to keep people happy, healthy and productive.
By weakening review protections for new highway projects aimed at promoting transparency and public oversight of taxpayer dollars, this agreement makes it more difficult for local officials to have their voices heard in favor of protecting public safety and curbing harmful vehicular emissions.
In addition, the approach taken by this bill in reducing funding available for safe bicycle and pedestrian projections, the Safe Routes to School program, and other community projects aimed at promoting active transportation choices represents a failure to take advantage of the opportunity to ensure transportation policy achieves it mission and improves public health.
Our first ever National Prevention Strategy, released last year by the National Prevention Council, noted that “transportation and community infrastructure” that provides “people with the opportunity to be safe and active” will be a crucial step to creating a healthier population. If the nation continues to ignore health when making policy decisions, like education, transportation, housing and others, today’s children, for the first time ever, will be doomed to live less healthier lives than their parents.
This conference agreement misses the mark on both promoting physical activity and ensuring federal transportation dollars are spent in a transparent, efficient and accountable fashion. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the Administration and others on promoting and designing a transportation system that will help promote a healthier America and improve productivity.”
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org