To the editor:
My fellow generals and admirals of the national security non-profit organization Mission: Readiness applaud the state Senate's passage of a comprehensive transportation funding solution (Senate Bill 1) that included a first-ever dedicated investment in active transportation (walking and biking).
Today, only one-third as many children and youth are walking or biking to school as compared to a generation ago. In that same time period, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Obesity is now the leading medical reason why young Americans cannot join the military - barring one out of four 17 - 24 year-olds from enlisting. Physical inactivity is not only a threat to public health but also to future national security.
Built environments that afford safe and convenient walking and biking opportunities between schools, parks, residential neighborhoods and commercial corridors encourage individuals to be more physically active as part of their daily routines. Data from the American Heart Association shows that for every $1 spent on building safe bike/pedestrian transportation routes $3 in reduced health care costs can result.
I encourage the Pennsylvania House to pass Senate Bill 1 that funds a multi-modal transportation system, including a first-ever state investment in making our roads and communities safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Dennis L. Benchoff
U.S. Army (Ret.)