Friday, December 11, 2009

Coburn/McCain Report Blast Bike Projects While LaHood Fires Back

Senators McCain and Coburn continue their anti-bike drivel in the Senate with the release of their report - Out of Gas: Congress Raids the Highway Trust Fund for Pet Projects While Bridges and Roads Crumble.

Nothing new here. The argument is that spending 2-5% of the total transportation budget on the two most basic modes of transportation is causing bridges to collapse. But in this report they specifically target PENNDOT for paving bike lanes on Route 6. My first thought on this was -"Wow PENNDOT's putting in bike lanes? How often does that happen?"

But as usual, bike lane projects always include a provision for a myopic local government official to deem them to be a waste of money. This time it's Lackawaxen Township Supervisor Rich Krochta “Some residents have pointed out that given the very deteriorated condition of Route 6 in many places where the new bike lanes will go, they may simply have to drive on the shoulders – a dangerous condition for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.” As if having a smooth road with no shoulders or sidewalks is somehow safer for everyone. Route 6 by the way is designated as Bicycle PA Route Y.

Route 6 shoulder construction Photo: Pike County Press

But perhaps the biggest surprise was the swiftness with which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood fired back on his In The Fast Lane blog. Alongside his argument to debunk the myths about "bike trails" was this statement:

We've worked hard this year to get our Recovery Act dollars out to the states quickly and effectively. Yes, some of those projects include bike paths, a key ingredient in our livability initiative to allow people to live, work, and get around without a car.

We don't call that waste; we call it progress.

It's an amazing post, and Ray LaHood is no Mary Peters. I Love this Guy!