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.

  • I also think that Rail-Trails are the best health care program, but I hope there will be more and more ‘best health care program’ in the future and I hope the price of them will be lower so that all the human can benifit from them but not only for the rich.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Ray LaHood Won’t Stay at USDOT Past 2012

|
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the LA Times today that he’s a one-term secretary. Don’t expect him to serve during President Obama’s second term, if there is one, or to run for any other public office in the future. Todd Zwillich of Transportation Nation suggests that partisan gridlock may be to blame. “A lot has changed in […]

LaHood’s Twelve-Word Definition of ‘Livability’

|
The White House’s effort to promote sustainable communities has prompted serious (and inadvertently humorous) hand-wringing from conservative pundits who fear the concept of livability will translate into governmental edicts on lifestyle choices. What’s the best way to counter such tactics? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (Photo: Zimbio.com) The administration’s approach, it seems, is to define its […]

The Ray LaHood Exit Interview

|
I had the chance to sit down with Ray LaHood yesterday morning before he spoke to the U.S. High-Speed Rail Association. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics, looking back on his four years at the helm of the U.S. Department of Transportation. We’ll publish the interview in three installments over the next few […]

Fred Barnes: Americans Mainly Want to Stay in Their Cars

|
After yesterday’s electoral drubbing, the Obama administration will have to deal with a starkly different Congress when they make their expected push for a multi-year transportation bill early next year. We know that some influential House Republicans, like John Mica, don’t necessarily believe that bigger highways will solve America’s transportation problems. And we know that […]

Florida and Kansas Reverse Course on Spurned Trails Funding

|
It wasn’t too long ago we reported that 48 states had elected to preserve funding for recreational trails, after the new transportation bill made it possible for states to “opt out” of much of the funding for active transportation. That seemed like a good sign, but what followed is more encouraging still. The two states […]