Ron Paul rides a bike with his supporter Michael Maresco - from Maresco's Ride For Honesty web site.DCStreetsblog said yesterday
and Bloomberg also reports
that Republican Tom Coburn is blocking a "clean" extension to the SAFETEA-LU bill and insisting that he will continue to do so until the bicycle and pedestrian - active transportation- portions of the bill (called Transportation Enhancements or TE) are cut out. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is also said to be against Transportation Enhancements.
About two percent of the federal transportation budget goes to TE, and of that, 57 percent goes to bike/ped projects, with the rest funding streetscaping, historic preservation, museums. Obviously, these Republican leaders don't believe bikes and ped projects should get a portion of federal transport infrastructure spending. There are so many reasons Republicans and the Tea Party movement shouldn't hate bikes and cyclists - here we give you five good one.Photo salimfadhley via flickr and Creative Commons license.
1. Cyclists Don't Pay A Gas Tax.
Whether or not you are someone who believes that the gas tax and motorists fees are the sole funding source for roads, you simply have to like the fact cyclists are subject to one fewer tax than motorists.Photo woodleywonderworks via flickr and Creative Commons license.
2. Highways Have a Mean, Mean Deficit Going. According to PIRG, "the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called "user fees" by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways."Photo periwinklekog via flickr and Creative Commons.
3. Bike Parking, Even Subsidized, Is Cheaper.
In their quest for reduced government spending, those claiming allegiance to the principles of the Tea Party movement should be glad to switch out free car parking for free bike parking. No matter at what price you set the cost of the real estate in a city or town, a rule of thumb is that the same expanse needed to let a car sit for free could accommodate approximately 10 bicycles, according to the City of Portland
.Photo by fibonacciblue via flicker and Creative Commons.
4. Cyclists Have Lower Health Care Costs.
An aversion to "Obamacare" and subsidized health care is at the core of the Tea Party manifesto. A slew of studies gathered together by Bikes Belong
show that cyclists have improved health and well-being due to their bike habit. Again, Portland is one of the first cities to try to quantify the exact benefit - the city estimates its network of trails (for cycling, running, and walking) saves $115 million per year in healthcare costs
, and will provide a net positive return
on the city's investments in the coming decades.Photo Chicago Bicycle Program via flickr and Creative Commons license.
5. Bike Economy Creates Jobs.
Portland also has plenty of evidence that the bike economy is a better job-creation engine than road projects are, but let's leave Portland out of it for this one. According to Fast Company
, this study by the University of Massachusetts looked at 58 projects in 11 states, and found that bicycle projects created 11.6 jobs for every $1 million spent, versus 7.8 for road-only projects.
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More on bicycle love versus bicycle hate:
Why Do We Republicans Hate Bicycles So Much?
Velophobia: Fear and Backpedaling in Colorado