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Doctors Pitch the Health Benefits of Bicycling

Bicyclists and pedestrians are joining forces with public health advocates in their bid for a larger share of federal transportation infrastructure.

Leaders of the Partnership for Active Transportation are scheduled to meet Tuesday with House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chairman Tom Petri, R-Wis., to discuss the public health benefits of increasing federal investments in biking and walking facilities. Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton of D.C. also will attend.

The partnership, formed in 2012, links transportation organizations including the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a group that advocates rebuilding disused rail corridors for walkers and bikers, with physician-backed groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association.

The coalition plans to unveil a new comprehensive policy proposal that would boost biking and walking in the U.S. as a way to unsnarl traffic and get more people using their commutes as an effective exercise tool, too.

“Increased investment to fill gaps in existing active transportation networks is the most cost-effective way to accommodate short trips and improve access to transit,” said Kevin Mills, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy vice president of policy and trail development. “That’s a good use of public dollars, as those investments also address critical public health challenges.”

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