WASHINGTON -- The House Transportation and Infrastructure committee introduced a transportation reauthorization bill on Friday that includes $400 million for wildlife crossings. This funding would allow animals to safely traverse over and under roadways to access more habitat.
The wildlife crossing funding is part of the larger INVEST in America Act, introduced by Committee Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, which directs $547 billion to the Department of Transportation to modernize the country’s transportation infrastructure.
In response, Environment America Conservation Advocate Alex Petersen issued the following statement:
”Building more wildlife crossings is a powerful way to address the biodiversity crisis. As built, our nation’s roads and highways carve up vast tracts of wild habitats into smaller, fragmented pieces. While individual animals suffer when they can’t access the space they need to thrive, in the long run, whole populations of animals suffer when they can’t intermingle and exchange their genes. When roads and highways get in the way of this genetic flow, species become more vulnerable to challenges like disease and climate change.
“The Federal Highway Administration found road mortality to be a major threat to the survival of more than 20 threatened and endangered species. The wildlife crossings funded by this bill would help ensure the long-term survival of these incredible species such as bighorn sheep and Canada lynx.
“Wildlife crossings are already working in states like Colorado and Wyoming. Where crossings were added, wildlife related accidents have dropped by almost 90 percent. As we build out 21st century infrastructure, we need to keep nature in mind. Adding crossings so that wildlife can safely traverse over and under roadways to access wider spaces and larger habitats is a great way to start.”
Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy.