Huffman Advocates for Wildlife Protections in Next Transportation Bill
Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led 36 of his colleagues in a letter to committee leadership urging them to include wildlife-vehicle collision reduction provisions in the upcoming reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, currently being drafted by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Rep. Huffman also serves as chair of the Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife subcommittee, where he has overseen legislative hearings on the importance of safe wildlife crossings.
“States, tribes, and local communities are working around the country to secure improved data on collision hot-spots and explore ways to make our highways safer for people and wildlife,” the members wrote. “By investing in solutions to wildlife-vehicle collisions through the surface transportation bill, we can ensure land managers and transportation agencies across the country are able to proactively address this problem.”
The members went on to highlight several key provisions from the Senate led version of the bill that could serve as a foundation for the House led legislation, including increased funding for a Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program and ensuring wildlife crossing projects are recognized as eligible for funding.
“From mule deer migrations across the West to Florida panthers, wildlife crossings help wildlife meet their needs and avoid fatal collisions,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting, and fishing policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “Representative Huffman’s leadership will invest in critical infrastructure that sustains our outdoor economy while saving lives and property by preventing wildlife-vehicle collisions on roads and highways.”
“From Santa Monica mountain lions to black bears in the Great Smokies, national park wildlife across the country share the everyday challenge of safely crossing busy roads. Congress can address this problem and we are pleased to see broad support for wildlife-vehicle collision reduction, which could better protect wildlife and motorists. Providing state and federal agencies access to funding to study and address wildlife-vehicle collisions is critical to ensuring the long-term health of national park wildlife,” said Bart Melton, Wildlife Program Director for the National Parks Conservation Association.
In addition to Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), the letter was signed by Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Sean Casten (IL-06), Gerald E.Connolly (VA-11), Bill Foster (IL-11), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), John Garamendi (CA-03), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Dina Titus (NV-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Filemón Vela (TX-34), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07).
The full letter can be found here