WASHINGTON -- The Senate Environment and Public Works committee will mark up a bipartisan transportation bill on Wednesday that includes $350 million for wildlife crossings, which would allow animals to safely traverse over and under roadways and access new habitat. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, which dedicates $303.5 billion for the Department of Transportation to update and expand America’s transportation infrastructure, is sponsored by ranking Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), along with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).
Environment America Conservation Advocate Alex Petersen issued the following statement:
"Nature works better when it’s connected. But, for too long, we’ve carved up our wild spaces and, as a result, too many precious animals have found themselves trapped in increasingly small parcels of habitat. When populations are cut off from the rest of their species, they lose genetic diversity, and, in turn, become more vulnerable to other challenges, such as disease and climate change. Whether it’s to migrate, hunt, mate or seek out new territory, animals need to move around in order to thrive. These wildlife crossings can play a big role in providing that freedom.
“The reason we know this is because these projects are already working. Wildlife crossings in Colorado and Wyoming, for example, have reduced wildlife related accidents by almost 90 percent. More of these bridges and underpasses would be especially helpful to endangered species like pronghorn antelope, which now use crossings in Wyoming on their long seasonal migrations, and Florida panthers, which are disproportionately killed by vehicular collisions.
“We need to reconnect our wild spaces, and this is a great start.”