What is He Thinking?

06

Feb

What is He Thinking?

The economy is in the toilet, people are loosing their jobs and for better or worse, a greater number of people are going to be forced to start using public transportation, walking, or riding a bicycle to get around.  In these tough times:

Senator DeMint (R-SC) has offered an amendment to SPECIFICALLY prohibit funding for bicycles, walking and offroad vehicles. The amendment ONLY goes after bicycle, walking, and offroad vehicle funding.

The Amendment has been offered but not introduced.  We do not have a schedule for when this will be introduced and voted on, but we need to alert all Senators to urge them to vote against such amendments and ensure that funding for bicycle infrastructure remain eligible under the transportation funds provided in the stimulus package.

Were this amendment to pass, it could directly affect Rhode Island’s current plans to fund around half of the Linear Park project from stimulus money.  It’s still unclear to be as to whether Senator DeMint is targeting all bicycle projects or just trail based bicycle projects.  I’ve read over his proposed amendment a number of times and think it could be read either way.  If you have feedback about this amendment, then I would encourage you to contact your senator and express your opinion.  The League of American Cyclists provide an easy online form that allows you to look up the appropriate contacts based on your zip code.

They crew over at Greater City: Providence pointed me towards an article at BikePortland.org.  As one might expect, their Congressman Blumenauer has already responded by saying

Republican amendments and assertions that the creation of hike and bike trails in the recovery plan will not create jobs or stimulate the economy shows us just short-sighted and out of touch they are.

Investment in bike paths will not only improve our economy, and take our country in the right direction for our future; it is precisely the kind of investment the American people want. American families have indicated time and again in the passage of bond measures across the country that they favor spending on alternative transportation, such as bicycles and mass transit, over spending on more highway capacity.

Americans want a real solution to the economic crisis, not just a band-aid fix. These investments will stimulate the economy in the present and point our nation toward the economic and environmental realities of the future.