$2 Billion for Bicycling in Stimulus Package?

blumenauer.jpgEarl Blumenauer. Photo: New York Times

The most tantalizing tidbit in today’s Times profile of Earl Blumenauer comes from fellow cycling Congressman James Oberstar:

With an eye on the potential stimulus package, cycling advocates "have compiled a list of $2 billion of projects that can be under construction in 90 days," Mr. Oberstar said, adding that prospects are "bright."

We’re putting calls in to congressional offices to find out more about how this potential funding would get distributed and what needs to happen to include it in the recovery package. The list Oberstar mentions may refer to the $3.4 billion in ready-to-go bike and pedestrian projects identified by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (click through for their petition).

Meanwhile, the House Republican leadership is making its transportation priorities clear. Here’s Minority Leader John Boehner, quoted in the Hill:

"I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of
infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion
for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are
necessary?" He stated. "But if we’re talking about beautification
projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to
look very kindly on this."

Isn’t this the same GOP that wants to re-establish its fiscally responsible bona fides? That will be a tall order as long as it’s still the party of Patrick McHenry — mocking a cost-effective transportation solution that will help Americans save money, while supporting exorbitant highway expansions that commit us to more spending on gas and huge maintenance obligations down the road.

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