Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LaHood Gives the Green Light - Get Your Bicycle Out of Storage

Why not put another half a TRILLION dollars into a useless project like cross-country bike paths. It is one way to get the price of gas up to $5 a gallon. And I am sure you all have bus and train service between your home and work out there in the Midwest. I like this quote: This is the vision of the Obama Administration: shifting from the all-American car to glorified 19th-century technology. One Republican congressman informed of LaHood's cycling priorities recently wondered if the DOT head was on drugs. It almost seems too absurd to digest.

At a National Press Club event last year, a panel moderator decided to quiz Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on his department's policy. "Some in the highway-supporters motorist groups have been concerned by your livability initiative," he said. "Is this an effort to make driving more torturous and to coerce people out of their cars?"

"It is a way to coerce people out of their cars," answered LaHood, with a blunt frankness rare for a politician.

One of LaHood's allies in Congress, Rep. James Oberstar, has introduced a bill that would essentially federalize the nation's entire transportation network. Called the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, the legislation frets that states have "great discretion to shift [federal transportation] funds between programs" and bemoans the "lack of clear Federal priorities and system-wide objectives" for transportation. In other words, grey-suited managers in Washington don't have enough power to dictate transportation projects.

To solve this problem, the bill has the federal government gobbling up transportation power from the states and forcing them to meet certain benchmarks. States are essentially coerced to make sure their transportation networks are environmentally friendly and include plenty of rail lines and buses. How bad is it? The bill actually requires the DOT to create an U.S. Bicycle Route System similar to our interstate highways. Yes, the progressive Oberstar actually imagines a day when so many people will travel by bicycle that we'll need transcontinental bike paths. I believe there's a word for that: "China".

The Heritage Foundation's Ronald Utt concludes that the STAA would "shift substantial numbers of passengers from cars to public transit and nonmotorized forms of transportation." The entire bill would cost an estimated $500 billion over six years, which would require a 112% increase in the federal gas tax.
Read article here.

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