Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
Bicycle and walking enthusiasts took to the state Capitol steps Tuesday to urge lawmakers to maintain money set aside for lane and pathway planning in a transportation funding bill.
The state Senate's $2.5 billion transportation funding proposal includes $2 million for planning for pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
Dan Miles, an avid bicyclist from Cumberland County, said he's an example of why they're needed. During a bike ride last year, he was hit by a car that shattered his shoulder - an accident he says could have been prevented if there had been bike lanes in his township.
"A bike lanes signals to drivers that cyclists are present and have a place on the road," said Miles. "When I'm driving in a city that has bike lanes, I am automatically on the lookout for riders."
Lawmakers have squabbled in recent weeks over whether rural roads should get more funding than urban mass transit.
"We have a lot of people who want to tell us how to get from here to here - who try to pose this as a contest between say, cars and trucks, or passenger vehicles and mass transit, or cars and bikes and walkers," said Brad Mallory, a deputy secretary for PennDOT who previously led the agency in the Ridge-Schweiker administration. "And I think it's a false choice. We need a transportation system that literally fires on all cylinders, whether it's engine powered or muscle powered."
A House committee begins considering the Senate proposal this week. Republicans have said they would be hesitant to vote for the proposal, given its reliance on fee and fines increases and uncapping a tax paid by gas stations.
Gov. Corbett offered a $1.8 billion transportation funding plan, and said this week he thinks the final spend figure should be lower than the $2.5 billion that passed out of the Senate.
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