Bush appointee: cycling is not transportation

September 14, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More

Here’s yet another incarnation of Brownie: Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters. As indicated in this Salon.com article writer Katharine Mieszkowski wrote that Peters recently complained that the Minnesota bridge collapsed because frivolous things like bike paths are siphoning too much of the transportation budget.  On PBS’s NewsHour, Peter’s argued that projects like bike paths and trails “are really not transportation.”   Mieszkowski argues otherwise: 

In fact, only about 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars go to fund bike paths and walking trails. In the meantime, 10 percent of all U.S. trips to work, school and the store occur on bike or foot, and bicyclists and pedestrians account for about 12 percent of annual traffic fatalities, according to the Federal Highway Administration. “We represent a disproportionate share of the injuries, and we get a minuscule share of the funds,” says Robert Raburn, executive director of the East Bay Bike Coalition in the San Francisco Bay Area, who calls the Peters’ comments “outrageous.” Plus, he notes, with problems like global warming, the obesity epidemic and energy independence, shouldn’t the U.S. secretary of transportation be praising biking, not complaining about it?

What really drives cyclists around the bend is that while they’re doing their part to burn less fossil fuel — cue slogan: “No Iraqis Died to Fuel This Bike” — they’re getting grief for being expensive from a profligate administration. “War spending, tax cuts for the rich, and gas taxes are all big sources of funding. Bike spending is not,” fumes Michael Bluejay, an Austin, Texas, bike activist, in an e-mail. “The few pennies we toss toward bike projects is not enough to fix our nation’s bridges, not by a freaking long shot.”

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Category: Energy, Environment, Politics, transportation

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    I also like Peters' comment about how the number of congressional budgetary earmarks have exploded "in the past two decades." Their number and net magnitude have only "exploded" during the past six years of Republican control of congress.

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