LaHood: Rail-Trails Are the Best Health Care Program

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood became a darling of the bicycling advocacy community last year when he jumped up on a table at the National Bike Summit and affirmed his support for biking, later declaring “the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

LaHood's tabletop speech to cyclists, March 2010. Photo: J. Maus / Bike Portland

Now LaHood says that biking and walking is not only good transportation policy; it’s good health care policy.

Speaking at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s 25th anniversary reception last weekend, LaHood said the rail-trail program “has done more for health care than anything we’ve ever done in America. Rail-trails have contributed so much to people’s good health over the last 25 years — also preventing heart disease, and providing the kinds of opportunities people have looked for, for a long, long time.”

City health departments are getting on board with active transportation, with many health officials promoting biking and walking as a path to good health. Perhaps the innovative partnership between USDOT, EPA, and HUD should make room for Health and Human Services too?

We’ll bring you more of the LaHood-bicycle-lovefest tomorrow, when the secretary publicly endorses the NACTO bike guide, the most bicycle-friendly street-planning guide out there for engineers.