Congress will soon be taking up the new transportation bill, and this is a critical opportunity to sustain and expand funding for Safe Routes to School. Please sign your organization onto a letter to Congress that urges the inclusion of health performance outcomes in the next transportation bill. Currently, the U.S. federal government spends approximately $60 billion/year on transportation infrastructure. This outlay is dwarfed by the costs to our country resulting from the negative health impacts of transportation. Americans spend:
•$76 billion a year on health care costs related to physical inactivity, partly because many individuals cannot safely walk, bicycle, or access public transit;
• $164 billion a year on health care costs associated with traffic injuries and deaths; and
• Between $40 and $64 billion a year on health care costs associated with asthma and other health conditions related to high rates of air pollution.
If we work together, we can ask Congress to ensure that the next transportation bill recognizes these problems and sets a strong goal to reverse these negative outcomes of our current transportation system. This will provide a strong foundation for increased funding and supportive policies for safe routes to school, smart growth, safer communities for bicycling and walking, and complete streets. Please review the letter and follow the sign-on instructions at: www.saferoutespartnership.org/national/45755/45848. The deadline for organizational signatures is October 31, 2008.