Bike Paths = Green Pork?
Green pig photo via Audreyjm529 @ flickr.
Obviously, not everyone agrees that the bicycle - and building bicycle infrastructures in American cities to rival those of Amsterdam and Copenhagen - are good ideas. Nor that the bike is an alternative vehicle. Perhaps biking isn't as universally beneficial as the weatherization that Katie Couric called embarrassing. However, not allowing bike paths to be part of infrastructure building seems going a bit far. According to Bike Portland, Senator Jim DeMint introduced an amendment into the stimulus bill on Friday, February 6 that would prohibit funding of of bicycle routes and paths. Here's DeMint in a NewsMax story:
"When people see bike trails and hiking trails and golf courses, they know this is not designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It's just basically special-interest pork barrel spending."Bike proponent Earl Blumenauer promptly responded with this:
"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."
What is annoying is that a big portion of the 60 million American cyclists are also car drivers - without being anti-road, can't we also be pro-bike and pro-path? Bike commuters, a recent Dutch study found, can actually save employers money as they tend to take fewer sick days. DeMint is vehemently opposed to the stimulus bill as he says it's full of pork barrel spending, which may be true. But according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, cycling contributes $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supports 1.1 million jobs, and provides sustainable growth to rural communities. It's all good, Jim. Via: BikePortland and NewsMax.comRead more about bike infrastructure5 Examples of Better Bike InfrastructureAmsterdam Edging Ahead of Copenhagen as Most Bike-Loving Euro-Capital?Planning for Bikes Pays Off Big in PortlandWarning: Riding a Bike Can Have the Following Side Effects: