Around the State
Vulnerable User Bill: SB 111
CTLCV supports the Vulnerable User bill because it promotes pedestrian friendly, walkable communities, by ensuring our roads are safe for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, horseback riders and people in wheelchairs. Unfortunately, Connecticut's roads are still hostile to non-motorized users because of a dearth of enforcement when drivers are careless. The vulnerable user bill consists of several components, none of which require any additional revenue from the State for enactment. The bill will establish penalties for infliction of serious physical injury or death to a vulnerable user (such as a pedestrian) when a driver fails to operate due care when using a motor vehicle. The penalties include a motor vehicle operator's retraining program, performance of community service and a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.
The public hearing for the VU bill was held on Feb. 22 and there were a number of groups representing thousands of constituents testifying in support of this bill including, CTLCV, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, AARP, Sierra Club, 1000 Friends of CT and CT Horse Council. Read testimony here.
While there is a great deal of support for the VU bill, just as significantly there has been no public opposition to the bill. Kudos to Senator Beth Bye for sponsoring the bill and to co-chairs of the Transportation Committee, Sen. Andrew Maynard, Rep. Tony Guerrera and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Eric Coleman for also expressing support.
Around the Nation:
At the end of last week, Speaker Boehner finally called uncle on his controversial and destructive transportation bill that would have removed dedicated funding for public transit, depleted funding for bike and pedestrian enhancements, significantly cut states' funding for transportation infrastructure, jeopardized some of our environmental protections and tied transportation funding to new and expanded drilling. Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters called the transportation bill:"a clear giveaway to Big Oil, that undermines bedrock environmental laws, and seeks to force a permit on the recently rejected Keystone XL pipeline."
Given the overwhelming and broad based opposition to the bill from major business, labor, transportation, environmental and health organizations and without enough support from his own party to move the bill forward, Speaker Boehner delayed the vote and is in the process of re-vamping the bill. The revised bill may be out at the end of this week or early next week. Meanwhile, the Senate is working on their own version of a transportation bill. While not perfect the Senate bill, called 'MAP-21' stands for 'Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act', restores dedicated funding for public transit and has a more balanced approach to funding transportation.
Transportation for America has an quick, easy to read summary of the problems with the House transportation bill on their website and they will continue to follow this issue as it develops. Read their summary on their website.