Representing Wyoming at the National Bike Summit
Wyoming Pathways Executive Director Tim Young attended the National Bike Summit in Washington DC last week and met with the Wyoming Delegation on bicycling and walking issues in the Cowboy state. Approximately 600 bicycling advocates attended from nearly every state and all around the country.
The Bike Summit includes two days of conference format speakers and sessions, and a Capital Hill Day for advocates to visit their Senators and House members.
“There were a number of excellent presentations,” Tim said, including an update from the USDOT with news on a proposed new rule to measure how well the states are doing to support bicycling and walking safety programs, and a new publication on low cost ways to use resurfacing projects to improve bicycle facilities.
Tim was also a speaker on a 9-person panel called “Bicycling to and through America’s Treasured Landscapes”, which told stories about bicycling in national parks and other public lands, some of the most iconic bicycling experiences the United States has to offer. Tim told the long and challenging story behind the Grand Teton National Park Pathways, and about the successful trail connections made to the Bridger-Teton National Forest around Jackson Hole.
“One of the fun parts of being in DC is the ability to use the Capital Bike Share to get around,” Tim said. He pedaled the bright red bike bike up to Capital Hill for Wyoming Wednesday to meet with U.S. Senator John Barrasso and Senator Mike Enzi and their staff. Our Senators host an open invite every Wednesday for anyone from Wyoming that is in DC. Its in a big room and the Senators visit personally with all the various groups that show up.
One topic discussed is a new bill called the “PHIT Act”, which would make it easier for Americans to be physically active. Specifically, the bill would allow individuals or families to pay for bicycles, bike education classes, ride fees, and similar things like gym memberships, up to a set limit, with dollars from pre-tax account, like flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. Its a prevention-based health strategy, to encourage healthy active behaviors that prevent expensive medical costs later. The PHIT Act has been introduced as HR 1218 and S 2218. Our delegation promised they will take a look at the bill.
Over to the House side of Tim visited with Rep. Cynthia Lummis’ Senior Legislative Assistant Jimmy Ward. Good news for natural surface trails, Rep. Lummis is still working hard to get the Trails Stewardship Act HR 845 passed.
The Trails Act would require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a strategy to significantly increase the role of partners and volunteers in trail maintenance. The strategy is designed to augment and support the capabilities of the Forest Service to implement trail maintenance by expanding the use of volunteers and partners.
Rep. Lummis is the co-lead sponsor of the bill, along with Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minnesota, and she believes its in a good position to move this year with 79 co-sponsors. Please consider thanking her if you comment on her website.