Tuesday, August 04, 2009
John McCain Attacks Bike Spending
Highway Fund's Use for Bikes, Pedestrians 'Irresponsible' -- McCain
With Congress' authorizing of emergency funding for the depleted Highway Trust Fund, two Republican senators are criticizing the use of the fund for bicycle and pedestrian paths and "scenic beautification" projects.
Sens. John McCain's (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn's (Okla.) criticisms followed release of a report by the Government Accountability Office last week showing that $78 billion from the fund had gone over five years toward "purposes other than construction and maintenance of highways and bridges" -- including $2 billion that went to 5,547 projects for bicyclists and pedestrians.
McCain blasted the Transportation Department and lawmakers for earmarking funding for "frivolous" projects that could have been spent on repairs to the nation's crumbling bridges and highways.
"Over the years, the number of highway bill earmarks has exploded," McCain said in a statement. "Now, Congress wants to bail out the Trust Fund by saddling future generations with even more debt. Doing so is irresponsible."
Bicycle advocates fired back, arguing that bike paths and walkways are used for 10 percent of U.S. travel and help reduce air pollution and use of foreign oil.
"What the report suggests is that McCain and Coburn do not see nonmotorized transportation as useful transportation spending," said Darren Flusche, a policy analyst at the League of American Bicyclists. "They don't see that bicycling is in fact a form of transportation and contributes directly to livable communities."