From The Hill, 01.11.09:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Sunday indicated that Congress may not be able to pass a massive stimulus as quickly as President-elect Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want.Wrong, Mr. Boehner. Americans can no longer afford our addiction to driving. Our automobile dependency is driving the country to bankruptcy. We can barely maintain our existing roadways, let alone expanded highway facilities As the global economy continues its rapid decline into possible depression, we will need innovation, not tired old thinking.
“American families and small businesses are suffering. We need to do this quickly, but we need to do it in a responsible way,” Boehner said. “And whether we can do it in a responsible way that quickly is unknown.”
The GOP leader noted that he was confident earlier in the week that the measure could be passed by the Presidents Day recess but, after hearing Democratic criticism of Obama’s planned stimulus, he is now not sure if that target can be reached. He added that investing in infrastructure can be a component of such a plan as long as it is targeted.
“I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are necessary?” He stated. “But if we’re talking about beautification projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.” (Read more.)
Many bicyclists are excited about the pending inauguration of newly elected President Barack Obama, whom they believe will offer more support for transportation bicycling than notorious mountain biker George W. Bush. As a candidate, Barack Obama expressed support for bicycling, admiration for bicycle friendly cities like Portland, and is himself active as a bicyclist. So he could hardly be worse than the out-going single-track shredder.
Bicycle advocates are greeting the new administration with valet bicycle parking at the Inauguration later this month. Advocates are also proposing bicycle infrastructure as part of an environment-friendly economic recovery package:
Infrastructure investments that include: retrofits to existing streets to make them safe for all users, as well as new trails that create comprehensive networks, cannot only create new jobs, but can help American families recover from the economic downturn and lay the foundation to address some of our nation's major crises, such as climate, energy, and health.The current discussion of stimulus plans creates a great opportunity for bicycle advocates. But only if we push aggressively with our advocacy. Obama may be more receptive to transportation choice than Bush. (Frankly--with Biden, Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Summers, Robert Gates--I see more continuity than change.) But Obama will be supportive only if pushed by a strong grass roots movement for bicycling, walking, mass transit, and especially passenger rail.
-America Bikes member organizations have identified over 1.2 billion dollars of ready-to-go bicycle and pedestrian projects.
-Bicycle and pedestrian projects are labor-intensive and require less expensive materials than road building projects thus creating jobs at roughly the same rate as highway repair.
-By prioritizing Complete Streets projects, and by fixing existing roads to complete streets standards, this recovery bill invests not only in jobs, but also in projects that will not have to be retrofitted in the future.
Image: Los Angeles Times.
Visit: No, Seriously: Republicans Don't Get It, Huffington Post
Visit: Bike League, Americans, respond to Boehner’s "trash talk", BikePortland.org
Visit: Are we building new roads to crumbling bridges, Transportation For America
Visit: Bicycling Stimulus, AmericaBikes.org
Visit: StimulusBike Blog
Visit: An Urbanist President, Bikescape
Visit: League of American Bicyclists
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site