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Republicans Screw Cyclists(11 posts)

Republicans Screw Cyclistspearlbeer
Aug 4, 2003 2:12 PM
Please send a message to your Senator and Representative showing your strong opposition to the following. The Republicans have screwed up enough as it is....

Bike trails' roadblock

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 7/30/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/30/2003

WHEN HE WAS merely the three-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong came to the White House. President Bush said, ''Lance Armstrong is a vivid reminder that the great achievements of life are often won or lost in the mountains, when the climb is steepest, when the heart is tested.''

After his fourth straight victory, Armstrong returned to the White House when Bush announced new funds for cancer research. Armstrong is a celebrated cancer survivor. Bush said: ''Regular exercise is another way to prevent illness and add years to your life.... Exercise is a really important part of my life. And I urge all Americans to make it an important part of your life, as well.''

Armstrong has now won the Tour de France for the fifth time. Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead finished in fourth place despite a broken collarbone. ''When you worked that hard, you don't give up too easy,'' Hamilton said.

Even as we praise the heart of Armstrong and the grit of Hamilton, even as Bush tells us to exercise, Bush's allies are making it harder for average Americans to get out their own cycles, strollers, rollerblades, and jogging shoes. Last Thursday, as Armstrong knocked off 112 miles to get to Bordeaux, a House subcommittee knocked out funding for bike paths and pedestrian trails.

The Transportation and Treasury subcommittee, chaired by Republican Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, voted practically to kill a decade-old program that required states to set aside 10 percent of US transportation funds for ''enhancement'' projects such as exercise paths and historic preservation. The program has given out $5 billion, $77 million to Massachusetts.

Those funds have helped states convert abandoned, unsightly railbeds into scenic paths. In Washington, D.C., and Boston, bike trails are a new source of commuting. On warm weekend days, the paths are a strip park of parents and grandparents pushing infants, small children trying out training wheels, teens rollerblading, and adults running, cycling, and conversing while walking.

In an obesity epidemic, it would seem obvious that bike trails are an important way to inspire Americans to get up from the couch or get out of the car. Trails offer a safe way for small children and seniors to enjoy cycling in metropolitan areas like Boston where drivers show no mercy even if the cyclist resembles Mother Teresa.

The national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says there are about 1,200 trails totaling 12,500 miles. There are plans that would give the nation close to 30,000 miles of trails. Those plans are in jeopardy because of Istook.

Istook is such a huge supporter of highways that a quarter of his 2001-02 political contributions came from transportation and petroleum interests. He also gets contributions from interests that benefit from massive concentrations of cars, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot. In the current $90 billion spending plan, Istook would boost highway spending to $33.8 billion, $4.5 billion more than even President Bush wants.

Conversely, he is such a critic of Amtrak that he tried to slash funding over the last few months to $580 million, only a third of what Amtrak says it needs to keep up its infrastructure and two-thirds of what even Bush was willing to provide.

Istook originally wanted to kill outright the 10 percent rule for enhancements. After an outcry by rails-to-trails proponents, Istook said he would leave the 10 percent up to the states. John Olver of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on Istook's subcommittee, proposed an amendment to preserve the 10 percent. The amendment narrowly lost before the full Appropriati
Democrats Go Dateless!bill
Aug 4, 2003 2:28 PM
um, just kidding.
Bummer and all that, though. With Republicans controlling, well, everything, this is a government by the oil, for the oil, and of the oil.
I think that the DC area trails are among the most used recreational resources around, instead of what they could have been, which is what they were for many years after abandonment by the RR's, which is nothing at all.
What a balanced article!Stinky Hippie
Aug 4, 2003 2:32 PM
*cough* *cough*

Feel the gin
Wouldn't it be more fair...CalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 4, 2003 2:47 PM
To tell us which members of Congress support it and which members of Congress are against it. That way we can see both democrats and republicans that support it.
I would also like to know what else is in the billLive Steam
Aug 4, 2003 4:46 PM
Many times a bill is either killed or passed based on the "pork factor". He may have voted against the bill because there were other items in it that he though were frivolous. Hard to determine anything unless the full picture is disclosed. I'll leave it at that :O)
Pearl Beer sounds like girly beerCalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 4, 2003 5:23 PM
re: Republicans Screw Cyclistsdave_w
Aug 4, 2003 5:14 PM

The link above is the complete article. I believe the change was to allow more flexibility at the state level in use of the funds. I read another article recently(can't remember where!) that highlighted this aspect and the binds that the current(now former?) legislation put on the use of the funds.
Hmmm. The Boston Globe. There's a unbiased source........Dave Hickey
Aug 4, 2003 6:00 PM
If you want to discuss the bill fine but leave your $%*@ political opinions off the general board. The non-cycling board is the place to discuss your political views.
It is a serious issue let's not forgetWalter
Aug 5, 2003 3:11 AM
Whether it's a darksome GOP "conspiracy" or the more routine bipartisan idiocy prevalent in DC the subject is important to cycling.

I've seen this bill discussed in other forums. It is certainly worthwhile to contact the committee members (regardles of party affiliation) and let your opinion be heard.
Tried thattorquer
Aug 5, 2003 11:35 AM
My representative is Nita Lowey, who is a member of the Appropriations committee (as well as a major Democratic House fund raiser).

I sent her an e-mail when I first heard about this two weeks ago; the only response so far was an automated one, confirming receipt but not addressing the issue.

I also found it annoying that the Committee's web site proudly announces an increase in overall transportation funding, while ignoring the cutting of the enhancements budget.
re: Republicans Screw Cyclistsmahoneyjoe
Aug 5, 2003 11:27 AM
I think all of this thread is fair comment and appropriate for the general forum, excepting the ad homium stuff, including the title. This is definitly of interest to the cycling community, and as far as blaming republicans, as a prior post indicated, they're the ones running the show now, including the chairman of the committee and almost certainly a majority of its members.
As it is from a subcommittee, probably its not yet become final and would be worth one's while to contact your local senator/representative to say what you think. In this case, I'd be happy to see federal restrictions/requirements on how the 10% should be spent remain in affect to insure it go toward cycling--my state, California, would probably just toss it in the general fund.