Taken from RABA‘s newsletter, The Pedaler:
Plans for the Legislative session will again focus on the Bill containing “Don’t Follow Too Closely” & “Three Foot Passing”, and several of us in the Virginia Bicycling Federation (VBF) have been making the rounds in an effort to line up Co-Patrons for the bill, which again will be carried by Sen. Bryce Reeves, a Republican from the Fredericksburg area. Several other delegates have already agreed to sign on, and we are cautiously optimistic that we may be able to get the bill through this year. Secondarily, we are trying to get the “Dooring” bill on the legislators radar screen, which will again be carried by Sen. Chap Petersen of Northern VA, but a number of the rural legislators see this as an “urban prob- lem” they don’t seem to be that interested in solving.
You may recall that I earlier reported that Del. John Cox of Hanover County had decided not to run again. His, and Frank Hargrove’s, long time aide, Buddy Fowler is running for the seat against Toni Radler. Since Del. Cox has been a major obstacle for any legislation that would benefit cyclists in his role as Chairman of House Transportation Sub-Committee 2, we are anxiously awaiting the results of the elections to see the makeup of the House Transportation Committee and its Sub-Committees. Del. Tom Rust of Herndon has already been appointed Chair of House Transportation, replacing Joe May of Loudoun, who was defeated in a primary for having supported the Governor’s new tax package. Assuming that he gets re-elected, we expect that he will be a reasonable Chair, since he’s been on that committee and we’ve seen him in action for some time.
Another area we’ve been devoting some attention to is the State Funding for Bicycling & Pedestrian projects, which has completely changed since the passage of Governor McDonnell’s tax package in the last session. No longer funded by the Gas Tax, but now instead by the increased Sales Tax, we no longer have to hear the mantra we have heard for so long — “You cyclists don’t pay any gas taxes, why should your activity benefit from them?” But the practice of allocating the Sales Tax funds for Bike & Ped is still being developed, so we are trying to be there at the beginning, so as not to get left with just the crumbs.
Another area we have been working on, with Champe Burnley leading the effort, is getting AmTrak to permit the bringing of bikes onto trains, which they have been very bureaucratic about resisting back here on the East Coast, even though its been done for some time on the West Coast and other routes. Adventure Cycling and some of the other Advocacy groups are also working on this, and a recent test on the Chicago to DC route went smoothly, so we seem to be making some progress. [click to continue…]