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A bicycle commuter who rides four miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving and about 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year.

Action alert: File a witness slip to make state roads safer for walking and biking

The Illinois Senate is advancing Active Trans’ bill to eliminate the local share of the costs for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads.

Now we need your help to make sure it passes out of committee.

Senate Bill 1768 is scheduled to be presented in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday, April 13 at 3:30 p.m. Will you file a witness slip as a proponent before Tuesday’s hearing to show your support?

The House version of the bill, House Bill 270, passed unanimously out of committee last month after more than 900 Illinoisans filed witness slips as proponents.

Under current law, when the state of Illinois is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for cars and trucks, such as travel lanes and road markings.

But if the state’s analysis determines a sidewalk, side path, or bike lane should be added and there’s community support for it, then the local community is required to cover 20 percent of the cost.

This results is an inequitable distribution of walking and biking infrastructure and many missed opportunities to add critical safety infrastructure.

Since many communities can’t afford the match amount, the walking and biking infrastructure gets pulled from the final design. Or the community never even asks for it because local officials know they won’t be able to come up with the funds.

Learn more about the bill in this one-page fact sheet.

State roads often serve as major streets that host retail and service industry jobs, grocery stores, healthcare centers, schools, and other important destinations. For many people, especially older adults and people with disabilities, sidewalks provide the only option for safely accessing these key places. 

By necessity, people are walking and biking on these roads already. They’re just forced to do it in extremely unsafe conditions. Let’s change  this.

FILE A WITNESS SLIP 

To show your support for SB1768 and more walkable, bikeable state roads, please fill out a witness slip as a proponent of the bill by Tuesday, April 13.

Illinois witness slips, which can be filled out by anyone who lives in the state, serve as an important tool for making your voice heard in state government.

Before a bill is shared in committee, the chairperson will read who has submitted witness slips and whether they support or oppose the bill. This helps legislators make more informed decisions when voting.

Here are a few tips for filling out a witness slip:

  • Identification: If you are representing an organization as an employee, include the name in the “firm/business” field. If you are not representing an organization as an employee, add “self.“
  • Representation: If you are representing a group, organization, or business, also add the name here. Make sure you have permission to do this! Otherwise, type “self” or “n/a.”
  • Position: If you support the bill, select “proponent.”
  • Testimony: Choose “record of appearance only,” agree to the terms, and then click “create slip.”
  • Confirmation: Once your witness slip is submitted, you’ll see a confirmation message and receive an email.