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Transportation, health & security

| Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

My fellow generals and admirals of the nonprofit national-security organization Mission: Readiness applaud the state Senate's passage of a comprehensive transportation funding solution (Senate Bill 1) that includes a first-ever dedicated investment in active transportation (walking and biking).

Today, only one-third as many children are walking or biking to school as compared to a generation ago. In that period, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Obesity is now the leading medical reason why one out of four 17-to-24-year-olds cannot join the military. Physical inactivity is a threat not only to public health, but to future national security.

Built environments that afford safe and convenient walking and biking opportunities between schools, parks, residential neighborhoods and commercial corridors encourage more physically active daily routines. American Heart Association data show that for every $1 spent on building safe bike/pedestrian transportation routes, $3 in reduced health care costs can result.

I encourage the state House to pass SB 1, which funds a multimodal transportation system, including a first-ever state investment in making our roads and communities safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Investments in active transportation provide a cost-effective opportunity to improve public health and ensure future national security.

Dennis L. Benchoff

Lancaster

The writer is a retired Army lieutenant general and former Army Recruiting Command chief of staff.

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