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United States House of Representatives Transportation Committee Passes Long Term Highway Legislation.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is pleased to report that the US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed a six-year highway bill. The bill, H.R. 3763, otherwise known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA) of 2015, was passed unanimously by the committee chaired by Representative Bill Schuster (R-PA).
The committee termed the measure, “a bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs,” and described it as proposal that is “fiscally responsible, provides greater flexibility and more certainty for states and local governments to address their priorities, and accelerates project delivery.”
The bill contains a few provisions near and dear to the motorcyclists of America. Most importantly, it ends the federal funding of the highly unpopular motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. “Ending the checkpoints was, and is, ‘Priority Number One’ for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation,” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF. “We are knocking on the doorstep of accomplishing this because similar language is already in the Senate highway bill.”
Additionally, the bill re-launches the much-needed Federal Motorcycle Advisory Council (FMAC). The FMAC was initially set up under a previous highway bill and served the country well, but because of some bureaucratic red tape the council was done away with. This bill revives the FMAC for the purpose of developing recommendations to the sitting Secretary of Transportation on all things regarding motorcycles and motorcycle-related infrastructure. In its first incarnation, the FMAC made some very worthwhile efforts on issues such as cable barriers, signage, and pavement conditions. The MRF, AMA, MIC, state motorcycle rights organizations (SMROs), state DOT officials, and highway engineers all have seats on the council. The only caveat? Every council membermust ride a motorcycle.
Lastly, H.R. 3763 commissions a study to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences on the best practices for preventing motorcycle crashes. While it will be a while before the study is begun and the results analyzed, it will be very significant as it will be the first study ever that is totally about crash prevention and not about helmets.
“This bill improves the everyday lives of motorcyclists in a very profound way,” added Hennie. “Living in a world where we can be pulled over for just riding a motorcycle has been an unacceptable practice. Ending those unwarranted stops has been the focal point of the MRF legislative agenda since they began, and we thank the Congress for hearing our demands and serving justice.”
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank those members of the House Transportation Committee who were of particular help with this bill, including but not limited to, Representatives Reid Ribble (WI), Barbara Comstock (VA), James Sensenbrenner (WI) and Chairman Schuster (PA). The full support of these elected officials was instrumental to this incredible success.
The MRF thanks all of the SMROs and the individuals who are dedicated to fighting government tyranny and control of motorcyclists.