Tennessee relies heavily on retirees moving here to boost our real estate market and every other market in our economy. One of the largest factors in rating communities as good for retirees is "walk-ability". Looks like our legislature is going to make walk-able bike-able towns and cities even harder to create:

NASHVILLE – Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 15, Tennessee state legislators will decide whether biking and walking will continue to play a vital role in the state’s transportation network. Amended versions of Senate Bill (SB) 1716 and its companion, House Bill (HB) 1650, seek to eliminate funding generated by the gas tax for bicycle and pedestrian projects. The amended versions would still put the safety of Tennesseans who walk or bike at risk, while restricting how local communities use transportation funds.

The bill’s primary sponsors, Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) and Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ootlewah), have characterized biking and walking solely as recreational activities, stating that gas tax revenues should not be used to fund recreation. Bike Walk Tennessee and those opposing the bill point to the thousands of Tennesseans who use biking and walking as a way to get to work or school. Currently, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) spends roughly $18 million in gas-tax funds per year on bicycle and pedestrian projects, which comprises less than 2 percent of TDOT’s total annual budget.

“Continued investment in biking and walking infrastructure is actually a cost-saving measure. Biking and walking generate far less wear and tear on Tennessee roadways, thereby decreasing maintenance costs over time,” said Matt Farr, executive director of Bike Walk Tennessee.

One-half of all car trips in the U.S. are a 20-minute bike ride or less and one-quarter of all car trips are a 20 minute walk or less. Having the option to take short car trips by foot or bicycle can take cars off the road, further alleviating the challenges of an aging transportation network.

Bike Walk Tennessee has led the fight against this dangerous legislation with the support of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, PeopleForBikes and more than a dozen organizations across the state. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition opposing the bill, and legislators have been inundated with emails and phone calls from Tennesseans who believe biking and walking infrastructure foster economic growth and small business development that can revitalize local communities.

“This legislation removes a vital tool for communities that want to encourage healthy, economically vibrant neighborhoods. Communities should be able to choose how to best meet their transportation needs and not let Nashville dictate that for them,” said Marianne Fowler, senior strategist for policy advocacy at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

After receiving a “negative” recommendation two weeks ago from the Senate Revenue Subcommittee, SB 1716 will be heard by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. CST. After being deferred five times and ultimately rushed through last week’s House Transportation Subcommittee meeting, companion bill HB 1650 will be heard by the full House Transportation Committee tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CST.

For more information on HB 1650/SB 1716, including the petition, please visit: bikewalktn.org/sb1716_hb1650_action_alert.

This will be a battle of the

This will be a battle of the lobbyists. The road builder's lobby versus everyone else.

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Lost Medicaid Funding

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