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The 1950s Called, and They Want Their Transportation Bill Back
July 9, 2011 12:07 PM   Subscribe

The 1950s Called, and They Want Their Transportation Bill Back. "While the bill’s summary lists few specific programs that would be cut, Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) announced in a press conference Thursday that the bill will eliminate funding for several bicycle, pedestrian and transit programs, including Transportation Enhancements, the Recreational Trails Program and Safe Routes to School." League of American Cyclists: "James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his top three priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’ "

Related:

Streetsblog and Bicycle Habitat
posted by inkyroom (115 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Republicans are very focused on doing things to annoy liberals.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:11 PM on July 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


I like the idea that in America, riding a bike is somehow "liberal".
posted by dng at 12:14 PM on July 9, 2011 [120 favorites]


Yonah Freemark has some good analysis at Transport Politic:

President Obama announced that he would push for a $556 billion six-year transportation bill that would more than double annual national expenditures on public transportation (he wanted $128 billion in 2012 alone) and introduce significant support for a high-speed rail program. Though Mr. Obama continues to articulate support for a major infrastructure initiative, he has been unable to put forward a proposal that would fund such a project.
posted by ofthestrait at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2011


Riding bikes, improving transportation infrastructure, mass transit, public roads, Amtrak, energy independence are all apparently the purview of the the filthy "liberal".

50% of this fucking country is determined to crash us into some goddamned new dark age where they can be ruled by the oligarchy who sit in their shining fortress, watching everyone else toiling in the stinking fields as indentured servants, paying every dime they have for usage of the public commons, choking on the stinking air and water, all in the name of making sure somebody, somewhere, somehow, doesn't help someone else.

Fuckers.
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:20 PM on July 9, 2011 [166 favorites]


It's really just political posturing, because it's absolute insanity that anyone would vote against the Safe Routes to Schools program in a time when childhood obesity is a real danger. Also, the GOP is going for maximum emotional impact here because all the bike and pedestrian projects total something like single-digit percentages of total transportation bills.

So it's not about cutting spending because it's really minor, it's about making a big splash in the news by calling anything non-car related in a transportation bill "pork" and how they are committed to saving taxpayer money when in the end it's all BS.
posted by mathowie at 12:20 PM on July 9, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's still approximately 3 times less money than is needed to adequately support the existing infrastructure. Congratulations assholes, let's buy some more F-22s instead.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:28 PM on July 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


50% of this fucking country is determined to crash us into some goddamned new dark age where they can be ruled by the oligarchy who sit in their shining fortress, watching everyone else toiling in the stinking fields as indentured servants, paying every dime they have for usage of the public commons, choking on the stinking air and water, all in the name of making sure somebody, somewhere, somehow, doesn't help someone else.

It's called "bringing America back to its roots".
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think bike trails make sense as transportation, but it's not clear to me why the federal government should be the ones funding them.
posted by Jahaza at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think cars make sense as transportation, but it's not clear to me why the federal government should be the ones funding them.
posted by ofthestrait at 12:31 PM on July 9, 2011 [111 favorites]


Well, it wasn't called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways for nothing. Federal funding for highways in this form has a lot to do with how impressed the Allies were with the autobahn during the invasion of Germany.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't sweat this.

After peak oil, the resource wars and the collapse, every road left intact will be a bike trail.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:42 PM on July 9, 2011 [37 favorites]


And hey, you can land B-52s on an interstate highway in a pinch. Try that on a bike path, commie.
posted by killdevil at 12:43 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think cars make sense as transportation, but it's not clear to me why the federal government should be the ones funding them.

Because of interstate commerce.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:43 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Welcome to ROB FORD'S TORONTO, suckas!

This is a comment about the use of transportation issues as a wedge in political discussions. No offense is meant to Mr. Ford™ or his extended family.
posted by sneebler at 12:47 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really just political posturing, because it's absolute insanity that anyone would vote against the Safe Routes to Schools program in a time when childhood obesity is a real danger.

Obesity disproportionately affects the poor, and the GOP is led by sociopathic plutocrats like Jim Inhofe - this is not posturing.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:48 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dwight D. Eisenhower I was surprised to learn didn't have as much to do with it, Roosevelt was really the bigger player in moving an Interstate system forward, the design and planning started in the 1930s.
posted by stbalbach at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


We get the climate change we deserve.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2011


[quote]Because of interstate commerce.[/quote]

The Supreme Court's view of the Commerce Clause is so expansive that if money changes hands, even if it's entirely in-state, it can be regulated by Congress.
posted by Malor at 12:56 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Inhofe also introduced a bill to create a "Pilot's Bill of Rights. Presumably to enshrine the right of pilots to nearly murder airport construction workers into law.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:57 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's absolute insanity that anyone would vote against the Safe Routes to Schools program in a time when childhood obesity is a real danger

Contrast with:

Motorcycle biker dies from head trauma after fall at bike helment protest.

Sarah Palin feeds cookies to children to counter new government recommendations on food consumption.

Never underestimate the ability of some people - politicians included - to scream "No-one is gonna tell me what to do, or take my money to do it!" while exhibiting behaviour that is obviously, completely self-destructive, and encouraging others to do the same.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:59 PM on July 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's not just that riding a bike is liberal (although, yeah, in 'Merica proper folk don't do that sort of thing); it's any form of personal transportation that doesn't involve you driving your giant gas-guzzling car that offends the wing-nut fringe running this clown show.
posted by fartknocker at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2011


I used to think that politicians of Inhofe's stripe were just stupid. Then I thought they were just greedy. Then I thought they were just evil.

Now I think they're stupid, greedy, AND evil.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


I love (read: hate, but in a nice aerobic fashion) how certain he is that anything he does must be blameless and right, that he can go against aircraft control, attempt a landing on a clearly closed runway, and hop over airport workers in the process, nearly killing them, and say, “I did nothing wrong, but at any time I could have suffered the revocation of a license."

Simply stunning.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:03 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mother Nature Attacks Jim Inhofe For Climate Change Denial
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


our very old aging highways
The State of the Union's Roads An Investigative Report
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/11q2/the_state_of_the_union_s_roads_an_investigative_report-feature
posted by robbyrobs at 1:11 PM on July 9, 2011


But hey, remember that both parties are equally far from the center and at the end of the day they're all just greedy politicians, therefore they're all the same.

God you have no idea how much I hate it when people say that.
posted by MattMangels at 1:17 PM on July 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


I just sent an email to all of representatives and the president. I'm going to get it out on my social graph as well to make sure that word of this gets out.
posted by thebestusernameever at 1:21 PM on July 9, 2011



The Supreme Court's view of the Commerce Clause is so expansive that if money changes hands, even if it's entirely in-state, it can be regulated by Congress.


Quite true, but in this case it's legit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the idea that in America, riding a bike is somehow "liberal".

It makes total sense if you're a senator from an oil-producing state.

I mean, it's still craven and completely assholish, but from Inhofe's point of view, completely sensible.
posted by rtha at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


But hey, remember that both parties are equally far from the center and at the end of the day they're all just greedy politicians, therefore they're all the same.

God you have no idea how much I hate it when people say that.


I mean sure they may both sign on with tax cuts for the rich but look at the shocking disparity in bike path policy!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:26 PM on July 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


And for what it's worth, from the Tulsa World description of it, I'm not entirely opposed to the Pilot's Bill of Rights. It seems to be focused on ensuring proper discovery for pilot defendants in proceedings against them, and I think anything that assists in defendant's rights to discovery is good. But here are two things it makes me think about:

1. Would he ever, ever consider legislation that would aid defendants' rights in any circumstance that he hadn't personally been accused in?
2. With his proposed new rules for discovery and appeals, how much more taxpayer money will his Pilot's Bill of Rights cost as opposed to the already inadequate bike trail maintenance?

And rtha, there really isn't that much oil produced there anymore. (Scion of an Oklahoma Oil Family here.) The home-offices of Conoco-Phillips are still in Oklahoma, however, so at least he's helping out the rishest 1% of the state, if at the expense of the rest of them.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:29 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


From robbyrobs caranddriver.com link...

To those who might complain that America doesn’t build great monuments anymore, a trip through the Big Dig in Boston or over the new San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge suggests otherwise.

Don't rush to drive across that new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the official completion date is 2013, but as anyone who's lived through a project of this sort will surely agree, 2016 is probably more likely.
posted by fartknocker at 1:30 PM on July 9, 2011


Come on furiousxgeorge, I was as pissed off as any sensible person when that Tax Cut/Unemployment benefit compromise was worked out, and you are correct in your implicit point that there are many things that both parties agree on, but look at how off the rails the Republicans have gone in just the last two years. The stuff the current House is proposing would have been unimaginable even as recently as 2006. I mean, cutting funding for E. Coli screening? Fucking around with America's creditworthiness? Are you shitting me?
posted by MattMangels at 1:31 PM on July 9, 2011


This isn't the thread for this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:33 PM on July 9, 2011


The first time I visited Boston was right after the Big Dig had been completed but before it collapsed, and to be honest I thought it was an Engineering marvel, basically the terrestrial equivalent of a Portal Gun, taking you from anywhere in Boston to anywhere else in about a minute.

Then I learned that Boston Proper is about the size of a postage stamp and the thing caved in because it was built on mob kickbacks, but that one night? I was amazed.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Inhofe and Coburn - tag team crazy from Oklahoma. There aren't two other people in Congress who can be counted on to so consistently be on the absolute wrong side of any issue in front of them.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:39 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "Republicans are very focused on doing things to annoy liberals."

I call it Spitism. It's not even Conservatism. It's just spite. Liberals like it? Well then I have to do everything in my power to not only oppose but completely attack it to no end. Previous governor worked with many regional governors to get high speed interstate rail? HELL NO you sissy liberals. You liberals like quality beer? Fuck that. Shitty water beer for Wisconsinites, made by out of state companies.

I wish we socialists had a fraction of the power people like Glenn Beck said we had.
posted by symbioid at 1:46 PM on July 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


ryanshepard: "Obesity disproportionately affects the poor, and the GOP is led by sociopathic plutocrats like Jim Inhofe - this is not posturing."

So -- I love how teabaggers bitch and moan about big evil politicians and how they "abuse their authoritah" while at the same time voting assholes like this into power. "How dare you block my almight political ass from landing wherever I damn well think I ought to be able to land, regardless of rules."

So teabaggers - when your man does it, it's ok, huh? You gonna keep voting this power hungry dickweed into power?

No, don't answer. I already know the answer. ;_;
posted by symbioid at 1:53 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait... wait. He fucking was the goddamned pilot himself?
posted by symbioid at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Got to say, I don't know that gutting something called 'Safe Routes to School' is a good way to reach middle-of-the-road and independent voters.
posted by box at 2:00 PM on July 9, 2011


It's really just political posturing, because it's absolute insanity that anyone would vote against the Safe Routes to Schools program in a time when childhood obesity is a real danger.

that's a red herring. childhood obesity has everything to do with the corn economy in the U.S. i.e. the price of corn syrup and very little to do with childhood exercise.

if the typical kid in the US wasn't sucking down corn syrup all day long in everything they ate, they wouldn't be fat, even if they still sat spend that day sitting in front of the screen or being driven to school.

of course, not like they got an agriculture bill that did anything about that either. it's one of the those things, like card check, that just vanished into the huge shitstorm of US politics.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:06 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm flying back from Arizona today, and it's pretty clear that NOBODY is bicycling around here. It's too hot. So in that sense, I can see how a bill to fund cycling lanes might look like just one part of a massive conspiracy to suck all of the money out of the center of the country and redirect it toward the coasts. On the one hand, this ignores that most lanlocked states are net receivers of federal money, but on the other hand, that overlooks that massive amounts of money really is being funneled out of the center of the country by banking and chain stores, whose weathly owners reside on the coasts. Anyway, I think the amount of money involved in this is so vanishingly small that this bill can't be motivated by anything but spite, but I am practicing mindfulness that the political opinions of the people who disagree with you may not always be ENTIRELY insane.
posted by subdee at 2:19 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


As Bill Watterson put it:
Calvin: "Mom, will you drive me into town?"
Mom: "Why should I drive you, Calvin? It's a perfect day outside! What do you think people have feet for?"
Calvin: "To work the gas pedal."
posted by madcaptenor at 2:23 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I call it Spitism.

Is that "spite-ism" as in "doing things out of spite", or "spit-ism" as in "spitting in liberals' faces"?
posted by madcaptenor at 2:24 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then I learned that Boston Proper is about the size of a postage stamp and the thing caved in because it was built on mob kickbacks, but that one night? I was amazed.

Facts?

Boston is 10th in the US by metropolitan area, 7th by density.
There have been no cave-ins or collapses. A ceiling panel fell once and killed a woman. A big deal was made of it in order to get rid of the political appointee that was the Turnpike chairman. He has other problems now.
One mobster, Carmen DiNunzio, has been jailed for bribing his way into a loam-procurement contract.


Also, if you ever travel overseas, please visit a government-funded civil engineering project. They make the US look like carnival riggers at a rural fair.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:26 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


madcaptenor: "I call it Spitism.

Is that "spite-ism" as in "doing things out of spite", or "spit-ism" as in "spitting in liberals' faces"?
"

woops - i meant spite. but... yeah, i guess it could be seen as either way, really.
posted by symbioid at 2:32 PM on July 9, 2011


subdee: ...practicing mindfulness that the political opinions of the people who disagree with you may not always be ENTIRELY insane.

I want to do this, too. But guys like Inhofe seem pretty well committed to disproving the theory.

The fact that the amount of money in question is "vanishingly small" simply doesn't matter to the kind of crazy these guys are working with.
posted by fartknocker at 2:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hell, I know conservatives who are stocking up on incandescent bulbs and leaving as many lightbulbs on for as long as possible to burn up power and spite liberals/greens. Sad, but unsurprising.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:48 PM on July 9, 2011


I was in a car the other day and it struck me that driving and owning a car is just a bit fucking 90s.
posted by hnnrs at 2:59 PM on July 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


owning a car is just a bit fucking 90s.

More like 40s.
posted by fartknocker at 3:07 PM on July 9, 2011


Hell, I know conservatives who are stocking up on incandescent bulbs and leaving as many lightbulbs on for as long as possible to burn up power and spite liberals/greens. Sad, but unsurprising.

Sometimes I wish lead-based housepaint were still being manufactured and was under threat of being disallowed through supposedly "liberal" regulation.
posted by hippybear at 3:13 PM on July 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


What you need to do is ferment a lefty plot to ban sitting in your car in the garage with the doors shut and the engine running for environmental reasons. Something something global warming, you know.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 PM on July 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


Sometimes I wish lead-based housepaint were still being manufactured and was under threat of being disallowed through supposedly "liberal" regulation.

Unfortunately, it might also make spiteful lead paint users more violent.
posted by drezdn at 3:27 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, a rail project moves forward in Mica's own district.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:34 PM on July 9, 2011


Why are we subsidizing all these roads? Is this some communist plot to socialize the highways? If they can't pay for themselves, maybe they should just go out of business then.
posted by salvia at 3:35 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


dng: "I like the idea that in America, riding a bike is somehow "liberal"."

I don't have any statistics but I wouldn't be real surprised if a large majority of bike riders weren't liberal. You can't bike out in the ex-urbs where most conservatives live, you'd get run over.
posted by octothorpe at 3:43 PM on July 9, 2011


Sometimes I wish lead-based housepaint were still being manufactured and was under threat of being disallowed through supposedly "liberal" regulation.

Lead paint is actually a good example of how fast we get things done around here. The US outlawed lead based paint in 1978. Europe outlawed it in 1921.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:46 PM on July 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


Why are we subsidizing all these roads? Is this some communist plot to socialize the highways? If they can't pay for themselves, maybe they should just go out of business then.

Based on his pro-toll-road policies here in Texas, Rick Perry may very well try to sell y'all something like that when he runs for president. (Hint: don't buy. The ones he's put in aren't working that well.)
posted by immlass at 3:51 PM on July 9, 2011


The Supreme Court's view of the Commerce Clause is so expansive that if money changes hands, even if it's entirely in-state, it can be regulated by Congress.
posted by Malor


Actually, it's so expansive that no money has to change hands, since not buying something effects commerce:

Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity. A farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat for on-farm consumption. The U.S. government established limits on wheat production based on acreage owned by a farmer, in order to drive up wheat prices during the Great Depression, and Filburn was growing more than the limits permitted. Filburn was ordered to destroy his crops and pay a fine, even though he was producing the excess wheat for his own use and had no intention of selling it.

The Supreme Court, interpreting the United States Constitution's Commerce Clause under Article 1 Section 8 (which permits the United States Congress "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;") decided that, because Filburn's wheat growing activities reduced the amount of wheat he would buy for chicken feed on the open market, and because wheat was traded nationally, Filburn's production of more wheat than he was allotted was affecting interstate commerce, and so could be regulated by the federal government.

posted by 445supermag at 3:58 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know conservatives who are stocking up on incandescent bulbs

Erm, I'm afraid I'm doing that too, but in my case it's just that I hate the look of compact florescents with the heat of a thousand fiery suns. Carry on.

posted by jokeefe at 4:33 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obviously Republicans are serious about jobs: Bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending
posted by ghharr at 4:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Erm, I'm afraid I'm doing that too, but in my case it's just that I hate the look of compact florescents with the heat of a thousand fiery suns. Carry on.

Right. And you know, running an engine with leaded gasoline reduces knocks and pinging.

Sometimes you have to accept a bit of degrading of your expectations in order to allow the system at large to thrive. Either we all play to help us all win, or we're all playing to help us all lose.
posted by hippybear at 4:40 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can see how a bill to fund cycling lanes might look like just one part of a massive conspiracy to suck all of the money out of the center of the country and redirect it toward the coasts.

I ride a bike for transportation all year in Chicago and plenty midwesterners do too. I can't blame people for not riding in the desert though. I will agree that most bicycle-riders I know are either liberal or open-minded, intelligent fiscal conservatives. Just this weekend I was riding in a car in the suburbs and couldn't believe how many bike riders I saw in a strip mall area you would assume no one would ride around for transport.
posted by Bunglegirl at 4:49 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't bike out in the ex-urbs where most conservatives live, you'd get run over.

I felt way safer biking in my very-suburb/ex-urb neighborhood growing up than I would here in central LA. Hell, I felt safer biking in the exurbs than I do _driving_ in Los Angeles sometimes...
posted by wildcrdj at 5:12 PM on July 9, 2011


one more dead town's last parade, that reminds me of this news from Spain:

High speed ‘ghost train’ cancelled in Spain

Spain’s state controlled rail operator Renfe has cancelled its high speed service that connects Toledo with the cities of Albacete and Cuenca.
...

The route ‘works like a shot’ but costs €18,000 a day to operate and has transported just 2796 users in 6 months.

The Toledo to Albacete/Cuenca route was launched after demand from the Mayors of the towns, who said it would benefit their cities greatly.


----
That said, passenger rail -- though not pork projects like those I mentioned above -- is in pretty bad shape in the US. This provides me with an excellent alibi to reiterate my dislike of rails to trails as a short-sighted program which we will all rue if we ever decide to get anything like decent passenger rail again. Previously on the Blue: one, two, three (yours truly), four.
posted by dhens at 5:13 PM on July 9, 2011


The real difference is that you can't use bikes as a form of practical transportation in exurbs/suburbs because things are too spread out (miles to the closest store, tens of miles to most things, etc). I don't really want to do that in LA either, but it would be nice if I could at least use it for exercise.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:14 PM on July 9, 2011


Don't rush to drive across that new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the official completion date is 2013, but as anyone who's lived through a project of this sort will surely agree, 2016 is probably more likely.

It took three years and four months to build the original "bridge"* (July 9, 1933-November 12, 1936). That included boring a 76 feet wide, 58 feet high, and 540 feet tunnel through Yerba Beuna Island.

Construction of the Eastern span replacement started on January 29, 2002.

* The span between Yerba Beuna Island and San Francisco is actually two suspension bridges with a common central anchorage; the span between Yerba Beuna Island and Oakland (which is that part that's being replaced) is made up of a cantilever bridge, five truss bridges, and a truss causeway.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:24 PM on July 9, 2011


The real difference is that you can't use bikes as a form of practical transportation in exurbs/suburbs because things are too spread out

This is precisely why bikes have an urban reputation, and thus the "liberal" moniker.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:47 PM on July 9, 2011


Benny Andajetz wrote: Inhofe and Coburn - tag team crazy from Oklahoma. There aren't two other people in Congress who can be counted on to so consistently be on the absolute wrong side of any issue in front of them.

The sad part is that we Oklahomans have to content ourselves with the fact that Coburn, while being on the wrong side of nearly every issue, at least believes his schtick. Inhofe is just one of those assholes who puts on a show of believing the BS he's paid to promote.


hippybear wrote: Sometimes I wish lead-based housepaint were still being manufactured and was under threat of being disallowed through supposedly "liberal" regulation.

You should have seen the spittle flying over the EPA's new lead abatement rules.
posted by wierdo at 5:56 PM on July 9, 2011


$230 billion for roads, $100 million for bike trails. That's 0.04%.

About 0.5% of Americans bike to work, so you could make a persuasive argument that the federal government should be spending $1 billion a year on bike trails.

Imagine!
posted by miyabo at 6:01 PM on July 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Er, make that $1 billion every six years. Still, that's a ton. Minneapolis has a gold-plated bike trail system, with bike bridges, bike share, and even a very expensive express trail going underneath the baseball stadium downtown, and that costs only a couple million a year.
posted by miyabo at 6:05 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republicans are very focused on doing things to annoy liberals. make the United States into a third world country.

FTFY.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:10 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lead paint is actually a good example of how fast we get things done around here. The US outlawed lead based paint in 1978. Europe outlawed it in 1921.

Wait, what? 1921? What was this, some little-known subclause in the Treaty of Versailles?
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:01 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Minneapolis rocks! And most of us can only bike maybe 8 months out of the year (except for a small but increasing number of winter bikers). Here we value the time we have and have a strong appreciation of whatever vitamin D and fresh air we can get.

This spiteful attempt to cut bike funding is a clear case of undercutting a real shift in the American dream. It is crumbling, changing, and on the other side (sooner or later) lots of us will be riding bikes. Probably in the winter as well.

*rant warning*

Good luck reactionaries! Let's see how long you can forestall a genuine groundswell. Yeah, I'm pissed, but me and a growing mass of bikers are going to end up owning the road in the 21st century.

By all means, stay in your oversized motorized caves until fire rains from the sky. After all, wasn't the freeway system a cold war thing to move troops and launchers during WWIII? [giant sucking sound as America slowly pulls its head out of it's ass].
posted by thebestusernameever at 7:07 PM on July 9, 2011


General Motors patented the use of TEL as a knocking agent and called it "Ethyl" in its marketing materials, thereby avoiding the negative connotation of the word "lead". By 1923, leaded gasoline was being sold.

Those Europeans were real visionaries.

Leaded gasoline was phased out in the US from 1975 - 1986 and in Europe in the 1990s. It is still being used in the developing world.

Perhaps.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:18 PM on July 9, 2011


Ahh, paint. My bad.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:19 PM on July 9, 2011


I wouldn't mind that transportation spending remain aware of the reality that, no matter what gov't does, automobile traffic in the US is going to continue to increase. It's a car-centric nation, so let's work with that fact instead of futilely against it.
posted by stewiethegreat at 7:24 PM on July 9, 2011


Except that it's not a fact.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:28 PM on July 9, 2011


no matter what gov't does, automobile traffic in the US is going to continue to increase.

False. Vehicle miles traveled in the US peaked in 2007 and haven't yet recovered, despite increasing population.
posted by ofthestrait at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


By all means, stay in your oversized motorized caves until fire rains from the sky.

That would seem like an ideal time for an oversized motorized cave, actually.
posted by Riki tiki at 7:33 PM on July 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Agreeing that this is simply a perceived way to piss liberals off. I listen to talk radio, and you hear this sentiment often. It's the same sentiment that leads people to shoot themselves in the foot by buying the worst MPG car they can find. It's actually comical to many conservatives to be wastrels.
posted by Gilbert at 7:39 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boston is 10th in the US by metropolitan area, 7th by density.

I don't know where your stats are coming from, but I said "Boston Proper" which is nowhere near "10th" in the country by area, being in the triple digits just behind Seattle. Anyway, I was just making a bit of a joke.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:42 PM on July 9, 2011


This provides me with an excellent alibi to reiterate my dislike of rails to trails as a short-sighted program which we will all rue if we ever decide to get anything like decent passenger rail again.

As someone who likes bikes and trains, I think, it could be worse. If we really need the right of ways again, it wouldn't be as hard to convert them back as it would if they gave up the land to someone else or *shudder* more roads.

Speaking of more roads, at least at the state level, the conservative obsession with widening roads and increasing lanes even if the roads don't need to be wider is something that is costing us extra money in both the short and the long term. So far they seem to be paying for it by either avoiding fixing the roads we have or taking it from things like mass transit.
posted by drezdn at 7:43 PM on July 9, 2011


We should really be doing roads-to-rails.
posted by ofthestrait at 7:45 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Agreeing that this is simply a perceived way to piss liberals off. I listen to talk radio, and you hear this sentiment often. It's the same sentiment that leads people to shoot themselves in the foot by buying the worst MPG car they can find. It's actually comical to many conservatives to be wastrels.

I understand the sentiment. My Dad is a Republican, but also very energy use conscious because he grew up in the depression and understands what it means to waste money and waste resources.

He would constantly hassle us about turning off lights and that kind of thing. Like most Dads he can be a jerk even when he's right so as revenge one time I turned on all the lights in the house when he was out just to piss him off when he got back home.

It was hilarious, when I was a twelve year old.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:03 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


This caught my eye: House passes double-digit increase for Pentagon spending.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:10 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


False. Vehicle miles traveled in the US peaked in 2007 and haven't yet recovered, despite increasing population.

It peaked, fell in the next year, and has been growing since then. It's going to keep going up, because population keeps growing.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:51 PM on July 9, 2011


Gilbert: It's actually comical to many conservatives to be wastrels.

I think if you look closer you'll see that wasting resources is in fact how they demonstrate their prowess (calling Thorstein Veblen). Really, the human race has been singularly preoccupied with burning it all up as fast as possible from the very first discovery of oil.
posted by fartknocker at 9:05 PM on July 9, 2011


It peaked, fell in the next year, and has been growing since then. It's going to keep going up, because population keeps growing.

The main reason it keeps going up is because of piss-poor policy.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:10 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


House passes double-digit increase for Pentagon spending.

FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU
posted by jjoye at 10:10 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So after these people cancel funding for bike lanes and safe routes to schools, what do they do for an encore? Rip up pedestrian walkways using the teeth of puppies they have strangled with their own hands?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:35 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm flying back from Arizona today, and it's pretty clear that NOBODY is bicycling around here. It's too hot.

I'm from Tucson. I cycle year round as do many people. I'm assuming you were in Phoenix, but even there there are many people cycling on a daily basis.
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:02 AM on July 10, 2011


This provides me with an excellent alibi to reiterate my dislike of rails to trails as a short-sighted program which we will all rue if we ever decide to get anything like decent passenger rail again.

I used to think this, but then it was explained to me that the biggest cost to running rail lines is that of eminent domain, or securing rights for the land the rail line passes through (and re-routing the line when those rights can't be secured.) For many rail-to-trail projects, the rail and bed would have to be upgraded/replaced anyway for new passenger service, but having the trail their preserves the land the line is on from being redeveloped...
posted by ennui.bz at 12:47 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


After all, wasn't the freeway system a cold war thing to move troops and launchers during WWIII?

Yep. Too early to spend time digging up links and such, but that's what it's really for, not "i gotta drive my hummer fast to there quickly!"

About doing things just because it annoys liberals, i take the view of if the far right wing is for it, i'm against it, but it works out because they have yet to do or be for anything that is good on any level except for themselves and their backers. ;)
posted by usagizero at 5:20 AM on July 10, 2011


I know it is generally true that liberal/conservative correlates strongly with urban/sub-urban and rural, which is a big part of the reason it also correlates with bicycle use, but I think someone should point out that there is another variable which also correlates: whether you have kids or not. Minneapolis has a gold plated bike trail system. .. But I have a seven-month-old, and I am starting to understand why people with kids do live in the suburbs and drive big cars. The idea of taking my baby out on my bike -- even if I weren't worried about the shaking, or being hit by a car, or crashing and then being hit by a car, even now, in summer... 90 degree heat, storms, mosquitos... Ain't gonna happen. The urban lifestyle is great when you're in or fresh out of school, but there's a reason liberal/conservative also correlates with age, and it's that once you become a parent, you tend to move out of the city, and then vote your own interests.

Tl;dr: Inhofe is still an asshat, but i we liberals really want to change minds, we need to give some thougt to designing alternate transportation systems tat qork for people with kids and groceries and weather.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:36 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"if" we want to change minds, systems "that work". Damn tablet defeats my touch typing skills...
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:39 AM on July 10, 2011


I know it is generally true that liberal/conservative correlates strongly with urban/sub-urban and rural

Actually the definition of "urban" is 1000 people living per square mile.

With 640 acres in a square mile, this is the equivalent of having fewer than one typical family living per acre lot.

Since acre lots are pretty damn rare anymore (1/4 or 1/6 acre is most common), the chances are that everyone you are thinking as living "sub-urban/rural" actually lives in an urban area. Even my tiny town of 9000 people is considered "urban", although comparing it to a real city in any respect is kind of laughable.

So, yeah. It may be correct that certain places people live have larger demographics tipped to one side or the other, but you have to be careful of your definitions of what isn't "urban", because you'll be wrong in your assumptions most of the time.

Also, it's pretty much a purple country, with much more blue mixed in with the red areas and much more red mixed in with the blue areas than election results can clearly show. So don't make assumptions about your neighbors and their beliefs no matter where you are. Even in a county which went 75% to one side, chances are 1 in 4 that your assumptions will be wrong.
posted by hippybear at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are an incredible number of German families who transport their children on bicycles all the time, OnceUponATime. Germany has very few skyscrapers, btw.

Americans depend upon cars because (a) our cities were designed around cars rather than older & slower transportations, and (b) our auto industry has effectively obstructed investment in public transit.

I'd consider the cutting bike paths about both spite and deception, meaning they're gonna talk about these insignificant cuts while wasting $17B more on military spending.

We need a well-funded & intelligent anti-military & anti-police spending lobby that simply talks & talks about the infectiveness, stupidity, and corruption of all our expensive police & military projects, F-22, JSF, nudy scanners, etc. until conservatives actually become worried.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:42 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The pilot's bill of rights contrast is interesting.

About 0.5% of people in this country ride their bike to work, and they get $100 million in bike trail subsidies every 6 years.

About 0.1% of people in this country are non-commercial pilots, and they get 5,000 small airports and more than $1 billion in subsidies per year.*

Unlike most Americans, I'd imagine the average member of Congress is far more likely to fly in a private plane than ride a bicycle.

* source
posted by miyabo at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've blathered on and on about biking and walking on the blue, so I'll stay brief. Yesterday, as I was walking to a friend's house--yet again alone on the sidewalk--I realized that by driving, you don't notice all the houses with those little pink tax foreclosure notices pasted on the front door windows. And the simply abandoned houses where the banks decline to put notices because they know that announcing foreclosure would hurt the area's real estate value.

So it seems to me, whether they are aware of it or not, Republican officials know that it is important to keep people driving so they can continue to pretend the economy is getting better. Any neighborhood walker knows it ain't.
posted by RedEmma at 8:29 AM on July 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


> I think cars make sense as transportation, but it's not clear to me why the federal government should be the ones funding them.

Because of interstate commerce.


Much of which is handled by rail.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have heard (but have not confirmed) that Federal road spending requires a certain percentage be used to promote non-motorized transportation.

I am a bicyclist, and all in favor of reasonable spending for bike trails. But the automatic set-aside requirement is absurd. A road was redone near here two years ago. Because of the requirement, a paved bike trail, one mile long, was built. It ends at a state park, but it starts precisely in the middle of nowhere.
posted by yclipse at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


OnceUponATime, Seconding JeffBurdges, here in Berlin, moving kids around on bikes is totally normal, and the traffic situation here is plenty hectic. Get a steel caged back-car thingy, stick a helmet on the kid, and the risk level is probably comparable to driving. Its fine, really, kids aren't that breakable. Of course I wouldn't stick a newborn in there, but older than 2 is fine.
posted by tempythethird at 10:51 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


kids aren't that breakable.

So you mean that thing they do in school where you have to carry around an egg for a week and pretend it's your kid and if it breaks you fail is a lie?
posted by madcaptenor at 10:54 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, it's not a lie if you're A GIANT CHICKEN!
posted by hippybear at 1:55 PM on July 10, 2011


I love Berlin. The weather is a lot milder than Minnesota's...

(Awesome solution? Bike lanes in the skyways!)
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:10 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


miyabo wrote: About 0.1% of people in this country are non-commercial pilots, and they get 5,000 small airports and more than $1 billion in subsidies per year.*

This word, passenger, what does it mean?
posted by wierdo at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2011


Republicans are very focused on doing things to annoy liberals.

Republicans are very focussed on taking advantage of the misfortunes they deliberately created from Reagan onward to get even with Roosevelt "the class traitor" and eliminate every advantage the people have gained since the last Depression. I hold this truth to be self-evident.
posted by Twang at 7:45 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


This word, passenger, what does it mean?

Unless you're chartering small planes to take you places, it means nothing when it comes to the non-commercial pilots and the small airports they fly in and out of.
posted by hippybear at 7:51 PM on July 10, 2011


yclipse: "But the automatic set-aside requirement is absurd. A road was redone near here two years ago. Because of the requirement, a paved bike trail, one mile long, was built. It ends at a state park, but it starts precisely in the middle of nowhere."

Have faith: that's how community restructuring works. You can't afford to tear up everything and start over, so you change the laws to require future work to have the features you want.

Communities do this all the time re requirements for sidewalks, stormwater control, water consumption, energy efficiency, etc. We have lots of wonderful things in this country that were done in pieces, and those first few pieces always seem like wasteful little islands. Take the long view. (I've lived in two towns long enough to see this happen and, in both places, people complained loudly about the waste until enough pieces fell into place.)

In ten years you'll turn around and go, "oh look, this is an awesome bike path system!"
posted by introp at 11:02 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


One mobster, Carmen DiNunzio, has been jailed for bribing his way into a loam-procurement contract.

So he's a loam shark?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:56 PM on July 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


50% of this fucking country is determined to crash us into some goddamned new dark age where they can be ruled by the oligarchy who sit in their shining fortress, watching everyone else toiling in the stinking fields as indentured servants, paying every dime they have for usage of the public commons, choking on the stinking air and water, all in the name of making sure somebody, somewhere, somehow, doesn't help someone else scrapes every possible penny of private profit out of the system.
posted by aught at 6:11 AM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


hippybear wrote: Unless you're chartering small planes to take you places, it means nothing when it comes to the non-commercial pilots and the small airports they fly in and out of.

Chartering small aircraft is not uncommon. And the pilots who fly charters have commercial licenses.
posted by wierdo at 8:04 AM on July 11, 2011


I'm not arguing that subsidies for general aviation are too high. I'm arguing that subsidies for bike infrastructure should be roughly in line with subsidies for other forms of transportation, when adjusted for number of users.

I could have chosen buses or trains as examples of highly subsidized forms of transportation -- per passenger mile, they actually cost the government more than GA. But the conservatives want to get rid of buses and trains just as much as they want to get rid of bike trails.
posted by miyabo at 10:42 AM on July 11, 2011


Chartering small aircraft is not uncommon. And the pilots who fly charters have commercial licenses.

It's pretty uncommon when you look at the cost. You're looking at hundreds of dollars per hour, minimum, much more if you're hiring a jet. And that doesn't even take into account repositioning fees or wait charges or any of those other things which add up quickly.

That's not the kind of thing most people can afford even once in a lifetime, let alone regularly. The people who are benefiting from these small airports and the subsidies they get from the government are probably the 1-percenters.
posted by hippybear at 5:11 PM on July 11, 2011


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