Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yet another reason to loathe Republicans and some Dems

The Winooski Bridge outside of Burlington, Vermont is a "Transportation Enhancement."

One of the numerous advocacy outfits I support, the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC), has just let me know that Republicans worked hard to keep any funding at all for walking and cycling out of the stimulus bill. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina offered an amendment (defeated) to prohibit such funding. Senator John Ensign of Nevada chimed in:

This is not a time to build [bike paths]. If we are going to invest in infrastructure, invest in infrastructure that actually makes the economy more efficient, such as roads that are needed.

Guess he doesn't want to encourage people to move more and drive less by providing safe and attractive trails, leading to healthier people and a healthier planet.

The House version of the stimulus did include $1.35 billion for what in Washingtonese are called "Transportation Enhancements," trails and bikeways. The RTC lobbies in particular for those delightful -- and readily developed -- graded paths that can be made on old railroad right-of-ways.

Though the Senate version just passed didn't include the Republicans' prohibition, it didn't explicitly include funds that could be used for non-motorized transportation. The centrist Democrats figured this was a throwaway.

If you care about walking, running or cycling, it's time to get on the horn to your Congresspeople and Senators and get this fixed in committee -- "Transportation Enhancements" mean a more pleasant, healthier country. And talk abut "shovel ready"! This one is easy.


Darlene said...

When the Republican and Blue Dog Democrats brains were formed logic went missing.

Damon said...

I run over that bridge on a regular basis. Cyclists in Winooski use it to get to downtown Burlington all the time.

I have a good friend who used to drive to work, but because of that bridge, he now bike commutes nearly year round. After ditching his car for a while in favor of the bike, he eventually started to use public transit when he didn't ride.

I know a lot of Republicans in the state hated that bridge and tried to pin it on Howard Dean, but it gets a great deal of use for both recreation and as a commute path.

janinsanfran said...

I took that picture during a run there last April during a pleasant interval when work took me through Burlington.

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