Portland Congressman to George Will: Let’s Debate

bowties.jpgWill vs. Blumenauer: Battle of the bowties.

Just when you thought George Will’s pouty, ill-informed tirade against new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was going to stand unchallenged, here comes Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Blumenauer, co-chief of the Congressional Bike Caucus and a Streetfilms favorite, released a statement this morning that dares the conservative pundit to come to Portland for a debate on sustainable urban planning and transportation policy.

The gauntlet was first thrown via Twitter, where Blumenauer posted: "it’s LaHood that gets it. George Will doesn’t …" before following up with a sarcastic reference to the love of bowties that both men share.

So is Will prepared to answer the call and head northwest? We’ve got a call in to Newsweek’s spokeswoman, and will keep you posted on any response we receive.

Meanwhile, you can read Blumenauer’s full statement to Will after the jump.

In his article, Mr. Will proves that he is mired in a one-dimensional past, one that the city of Portland has successfully overcome” said Blumenauer. “He opposes policies that will provide Americans with more choices while saving them money, creating jobs and protecting the environment. In Portland we have been able to increase productivity, boost our economy, and invest in our city’s resources by taking a well-rounded approach to transportation. Secretary LaHood shares this comprehensive view on transportation options for our nation — it’s not about behavior modification its about giving Americans the freedom to choose more than just the highway or byway.

Rather than pontificate about practicality from afar, I challenge Mr. Will to come experience Portland, and then debate the facts, the future and the visions we offer,” continued Blumenauer. “I am proud to defend the Portland model so painstakingly developed and implemented over the last 1/3 of a century. Maybe he will understand why young well educated people move here without jobs and older, well established business and professional people won’t leave for jobs that pay more. We will be happy to buy his plane ticket and give him a bottle of Oregon pinot to die for.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

LaHood, Blumenauer Christen New Portland Streetcars

|
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in Portland today to christen the city’s new fleet of made-in-the-U.S. streetcars. The streetcars, the first to be crafted in America in 58 years, are manufactured by Oregon Iron Works. The 65-year-old company has won agreements to build six for the city of Portland and seven […]

2008: Year of the Bicycle?

|
Ahead of this week’s National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, syndicated columnist Neal Peirce wonders if 2008 will be "bicycling’s best year since the start of the auto age." He writes about developments promoting the bicycle as a legitimate form of transportation around the world, many of which have been featured right here on Streetsblog: […]

Boxer Pushes LaHood on Financing for Transportation

|
Senator Barbara Boxer got down to brass tacks on transportation funding in a committee hearing yesterday, even as DOT Secretary Ray LaHood remained vague on how to pay for the president’s ambitious proposal. Boxer said she’s not in favor of raising the gas tax, but she’d like it to be indexed to inflation. “We don’t […]

Sparks Fly as Lawmaker Grills LaHood on Columbia River Crossing Transit

|
From the beginning of today’s hearing, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee made it clear they weren’t going to let Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s last appearance before them be an easy one. While the hearing’s purpose was to examine the department’s budget request, the tough questions LaHood fielded on the budget were nothing compared to […]