After Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) proposed an amendment to the stimulus that would prohibit funding of bicycle paths, outspoken bicycle supporter and Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer went on the warpath. In a blog post he wrote for the Huffington Post, Blumenauer described Republicans as "out of touch."
To their detriment, they are continuing their trend from last Congress of using the most economical, energy-efficient, and healthy forms of transportation as their whipping post. Investment in bike paths will not only improve our economy, and take our country in the right direction for the future; it is exactly the kind of investment the American people want.
Moreover, bicycle and pedestrian paths are precisely the kind of infrastructure projects our country needs. These projects tend to the most "shovel-ready" and are more labor-intensive than other projects-- therefore putting more people to work per dollar spent.
He also lays out a bunch of bike factoids, such as:
- Transportation surveys indicate that 52% of Americans want to bike more than they do now - but don't, because of the lack of safe and connected bicycle facilities.
- More than 50% of working Americans live less than 5 miles from work, an easy bicycle commute.
- More than 490,000 Americans bike to work.
- Individually, [bicyclists] are saving $1,825 in auto-related costs, reducing their carbon emissions by 128 pounds per year, saving 145 gallons of gasoline, avoiding 50 hours of being stuck in traffic, burning 9,000 calories, reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%, and enjoying 14% fewer claims on their health insurance.
- If we doubled the current 1% of all trips by bike to 2%, we would collectively save more 693 million gallons of gasoline - that's more than $5 billion dollars - each year.
BikePortland checked in with Blumenauer's office today and found out that the anti-bike amendment did not end up in the bill.
What do you think - do bike paths belong in the stimulus bill?