ASLA has recently signed on to a letter to Congress as part of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The letter, signed by 169 other national, state and local organizations, calls for health performance outcomes in the next transportation bill. The letter was delivered to Chairman Oberstar and Ranking Member Mica of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works the week of November 3, 2008.
Key facts in the letter demonstrate the costs and the negative impacts of our current transportation system:
- High rates of obesity and physical inactivity. CDC estimated that obesity cost America $117 billion in the year 2000, and another study showed that physical inactivity results in $76 billion in direct medical costs annually in the United States.
- Continued significant rates of traffic injuries and deaths. In addition to the loss of human life and health, traffic crashes cost Americans an estimated $164 billion each year.
- High rates of air pollution that worsen respiratory diseases and asthma and impact other health conditions. Researchers have found that one in three schools are located in air pollution danger zones. And, the public health costs of pollution from cars and trucks have been estimated at between $40 billion and $64 billion per year.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership will be following up with members of the House and Senate Transportation committees to encourage them to hold a hearing on this important issue.
To learn more about the Safe Routes to School National Partnership coalition and read the letters, please visit: http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/national/45755/45848.