Tuesday, November 01, 2011

News Flash: "GOP lawmakers spin funding tall tales" about the need to eliminate TE funding

If you haven't heard, there are some Republican Congressmen and Senators who are claiming that Transportation Enhancement (TE) funding, the primary source for bicycle and pedestrian project from the federal government, is driving the US Government broke and causing our nation's bridges and roadways to crumble (read here)

Well fortunately, the good folks at the League of American Bicyclists have done an excellent job of refuting those claims.  To backing up the League's arguments, Jay Walljasper of the Huffington Post wrote a great piece claiming that federal money on bicycle and pedestrian projects is money well spent. 

Well now there's even more!  An October 31st article by Joan Lowy of the Associated Press essential shreds any remaining credibility of the GOP claims that the TE program is full of wasteful spending.  She even goes as far to say in the title that "GOP lawmakers spin funding tall tales."  You can read the article in full here.

Also check out the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federations well articulated response to the revelations found in the AP article.  In their response, MOBikePedFed makes the the very astute observation:
The fact check is unusual — every supposedly horrible example of Transportation Enhancements spending is completely debunked. Each example turns out to be either grossly exaggerated or completely misleading. That’s not surprising, because Transportation Enhancements is the single largest source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian funding in the U.S. today, and those projects are important, popular, and much needed.

There are more than enough very good, very needed, projects to crowd out bad projects — and it looks like that is exactly what happened to many of the examples opponents have cited. They were bad and so they were turned down for funding entirely. That’s a sign of a system that is working — but it hasn’t stopped opponents from clogging the media airwaves and the public discourse with these fabricated examples. 

Enhancements funding is used effectively and fills an important need in communities large and small, and ranging from urban to suburban to rural. Bicycle and pedestrian projects are inexpensive, cost-effective, popular with citizens, and well used. We always have plenty of money to build a new freeway through town or add an extra lane so that semi-trucks can get there a few minutes faster. And you’re telling us we can’t put in a sidewalk and a crosswalk on the state highway going through town, so that grandma can get from her home to the grocery store safely?
It's great to read of the TE program and the spending of some of that money on much needed bicycle and pedestrian projects getting so much support. But there is something that you can do.  People for Bikes, an initiative of Bikes Belong, has put together this petition for us all to sign.  Take a minute or two to fill it out!

2 comments:

Ordinary Bob said...

We should get transportation funding out of the hands of the federal government.

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