This may astound you, but there are times when I fear that our elected representatives don’t have our best interests at heart.
Take Rep. John Mica (R-Big Oil). The American Energy and Infrastructure Act, scheduled to be marked up on Thursday by Mica’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been described by Ben Goldman of DC.Streetsblog.org as “a return to 1950s-style transportation policy” that is “particularly unkind to transit and bike/ped programs.”
Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists has penned a list of the top-10 problems with the proposed legislation, and I expect there are many more than 10.
Andy told my colleagues over at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that the legislation undoes 20 years’ worth of progress made toward including cycling and walking in the national transportation plan.
“We were expecting the funding would be under attack but were surprised at how carefully they want to take bike/ped out of the bill altogether,” Clarke said. “There were sections of the bill that we didn’t know they knew existed. They’ve gone out of their way to attack the bike/ped portions.”
It truly boggles the mind. Self-described “conservatives” who don’t bat an eyelash at starting wars that run into the trillions of dollars take the greatest possible umbrage at the pennies required to create and maintain sidewalks, bike lanes and pedestrian/bicycle trails that provide safe havens for the folks who’d just as soon not crank up the family tank for short trips to school, shopping or work.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn of the Sierra Club told Streetsblog that the bill represents “a significant step backwards for safe biking and walking.”
“Today more than 12 percent of trips are made by foot or bike, yet less than 2 percent of our nation’s transportation funding goes towards biking and pedestrian infrastructure,” Prentice-Dunn continued.
“According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking, bike commuting increased 57 percent between 2000 and 2009. Instead of increasing investment in transportation options that Americans want, the House bill appears to funnel more dollars towards roads, further deepening our addiction to oil.”
Addicted to oil? Say it ain’t so! I’m certain the only reason we want to keep the Strait of Hormuz open is to defend the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.