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Senate File 8, Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force Bill, passes in the Wyoming Senate – On to the House of Representatives!

112415-TAP-Action-Cycle-PathLast week, Senate File 8, the Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force bill, cleared a major hurdle and passed all three readings on the Senate floor with overwhelming support. The bill will now be referred to the House of Representatives, where it has to go through a similar process, including committee review, and three readings on the House floor. Then if successful, it goes on to the Governor to be signed into law.

Senate File 8 was developed by the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee (TRW) as part of an Interim Study on bicycling and walking.  There is no funding attached to the bill. The purpose is to create a Task Force appointed by the Governor to “study the benefits and opportunities of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails in the state” for recreation and transportation in Wyoming. It would be the first study of this type in Wyoming.

north-cache-ada-access-complete-streetScheduled for hearing in the House TRW Committee.

The TRW Committee will take up their review as soon as February 19th. If supported by a majority of the 9-member House committee, it will then move to the full House of Representatives for three readings. To become law, SF-08 must pass every single step of the process.

Your voice will make a difference – please contact your Wyoming House Representative, and ask for their support of Senate File 8. Wyoming Pathways will be providing an easy way to send an email to your Representatives in the coming days.

Purpose of the Bicycle Pedestrian System Task Force:

axelrad-kids-grand-teton-pathwayThe Task Force will be charged with developing a report to help local communities and state agencies, including WYDOT, State Parks, Health, Tourism, and the Business Council, to  all better understand the opportunities and challenges of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails.

The Task Force will consider the economic benefits of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails through enhanced tourism opportunities, and the report will study health benefits to Wyoming residents of having access to close to home pathways, and ways in which these benefits can best be attained.

Safety is an important element of the issues to be addressed as well. A tragic number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities have occurred around Wyoming in recent years, and the Task Force will analyze the crash records and study public safety needs and programs that could help reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

The bill calls for the Task Force to identify and evaluate options to fund the construction and maintenance of pathways and natural surface trails, including private and nonprofit sources along with local, state, and federal sources. The Task Force will also review possible fees to use state trails.

green-river-pathway-bridgeThe Senate added several amendments to the original bill, one a clarification that the study is to look at opportunities along public roads, public rights of way, and public park lands, not private property. The Senate also added two additional seats, one for the agricultural industry, and one for the trucking industry. These added views should help improve the Task Force and the final report.

No new funding is attached to the bill. Members of the public on the Task Force would pay their own expenses, and government staff would pay through existing agency budgets. The key agencies impacted have testified that they would be able to provide the staff called for in the bill, that it would not be an undue burden, and they said the use of web and phone conferencing would help cut down on cost. State agencies agreed there would be significant benefits to Wyoming from the proposed Task Force and reports that would be developed.

Wyoming Pathways strongly supports the bill. Nearly every large community in Wyoming, and many small and mid-sized towns, are actively developing pathways and natural surface trails. There is also greatly increased interest in developing walkable downtowns. Residents, communities, and local and state government will all benefit from having this Governor-appointed task force to study and report on Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathways and natural surface trails.

north-cache-pedestriansThe best way to contact your representative are by email and phone.

Contact by email

Legislators value hearing from you by email while they work. Short personal messages are best, with a clear subject line: “Please support Senate File 8”. Legislators can be contacted by email using the address formula [email protected]. The list of all House members is here; http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/LegislatorList.aspx?strHouse=…

If you need help identifying your Representative, you can click here: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/LegislatorList.aspx?strHouse=H&strStatus=N and find them.

You can also use the Online Hotline to recommend support for SF-08, and also leave a short comment regarding the bill. Comments are limited to 140 characters (approximately one or two short sentences). That link is: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/postcomments/HotlineDisclaimer.aspx

Contact by phone

You can also leave a brief message for a member via phone. The House receptionist will take down a simple message (“Vote Yes on Senate File 8″) and deliver it to the lawmaker’s desk. House Receptionist is at (307) 777-7852.