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Old 08-16-07, 01:52 PM   #1
randya
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Federal Gov't: Bike Paths not Transportation Related

McNeil-Lehrer's Gwen Ifill interviewing Mary Peters, U.S. Secretary of Transportation:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/trans...ure_08-15.html
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Old 08-16-07, 01:56 PM   #2
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I just got a email from the Bike League of America on this. Here is a copy of the letter they sent out.

http://www.bikeleague.org/news/images/peters_letter.pdf
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Old 08-16-07, 01:58 PM   #3
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Thanks randya. I think to a certain extent, she's right, if those "bike paths" are MUPs designed for recreation. True, you can ride on them for transportation, but I would consider a "bike path" or a "bike highway" more transportation-oriented than an MUP.

I don't think what I'm saying is what she meant by saying bike paths are not "transportation related," though.
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Old 08-16-07, 02:56 PM   #4
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contact the USDOT yourself:

http://www.dot.gov/contact.html
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Old 08-16-07, 03:20 PM   #5
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Can this thread and the one on the same subject entitled At the Top be merged, please?
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Old 08-16-07, 03:21 PM   #6
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Sorry, should have been Trouble at the Top

More appropriate, really, since she seems to be in a bit of a spin
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Old 08-16-07, 09:07 PM   #7
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Disturbing interview with DOT Secretary

I received an e-mail from The League of American Bicyclists regarding a recent interview by Mary Peters the Secretary of Dept of Transportation. Here is what they wrote:

League Responds to U.S. Transportation Secretary's comments on PBS

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters talks about infrastructure problems and travel initiatives. More Info

Peters cited "bicycle paths" as a prime example of the waste

Last night on the PBS NewsHour with Jim Leher, DOT Secretary Mary Peters was interviewed by Gwen Ifill.

Peters, when asked about a possible gas tax increase, repeated President Bush's response - No, there can be no tax increase because Congress is wasting the money they already get. Peters cited "bicycle paths" as a prime example of the waste because bicycles are not a transportation use of the gas tax money.

It is disappointing that the administration is attacking Jim Oberstar for his efforts to get the Minneapolis bridge repaired along with raising all the funding for transportation maintenance, by using Oberstar's support for bicycles as a weapon.

The League of American Bicyclists feels strongly that this should not go without a response and we have sent a letter to Secretary Peters voicing our view. Click here to view our response.

For those of you who feel strongly about bicycling issues, we would also urge you to contact the Secretary to share your personal viewpoints.

To view a copy of the program click here


From the transcripts:
"GWEN IFILL: Aren't many of those projects, even though they're special interest projects, aren't they roads and bridges, often?

MARY PETERS: Gwen, some of them are, but many of them are not. There are museums that are being built with that money, bike paths, trails, repairing lighthouses. Those are some of the kind of things that that money is being spent on, as opposed to our infrastructure."

"GWEN IFILL: Who is spending the money inappropriately?

MARY PETERS: Well, there's about probably some 10 percent to 20 percent of the current spending that is going to projects that really are not transportation, directly transportation-related. Some of that money is being spent on things, as I said earlier, like bike paths or trails. Some is being spent on museums, on restoring lighthouses, as I indicated."


I just thought I'd share with you guys what the gov't thinks about our mode of transportation. I'm going to send a response myself as soon as I get it written up. Or I could just copy the Leagues response and sign it.
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Old 08-16-07, 09:15 PM   #8
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I agree with the secretary. Like it or not bicycles are not a means of transportation in the US. What percentage of Americans commute? I don't have the number but I am sure it is not very many. Bicycles in the US are a means of fun and fitness. Like it or not, that's the way it is. Go ahead and flame me.....I care not.




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Peters, when asked about a possible gas tax increase, repeated President Bush's response - No, there can be no tax increase because Congress is wasting the money they already get. Peters cited "bicycle paths" as a prime example of the waste because bicycles are not a transportation use of the gas tax money.
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Old 08-16-07, 09:20 PM   #9
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I'm not here to flame anyone. This is to inform people who are into cycling and commuting by bicycle. If you don't care about alternatives then that is your prerogative.
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Old 08-16-07, 09:28 PM   #10
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If you don't care about alternatives then that is your prerogative.
Oh no, I do care and how I wish bicycling as a means of transportation was more widely used here. Unfortunately I am also a realist. I doubt it will ever happen here in large enough numbers for our transportation tax's to be rightfully used for bike paths.
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Old 08-16-07, 09:32 PM   #11
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I agree with the secretary. Like it or not bicycles are not a means of transportation in the US.


of course bikes are a means of transportation in the US. And in order to increase bicycle use, it doesn't have to be a matter of billions of dollars invested in new infrastructure, as it does when trying to increase car use. There are many cities in the USA which are known for their bicycle friendliness, and there's nothing inherently bike friendly about their location or topography, it's a matter of will power, and a forward thinking municipality. ...it's too bad as a society we see every public work which is not "fighting" something (drugs, terrorism etc) as a "waste of taxpayer money". A network of bike paths connecting a city from corner to corner is something which the head of the DOT should certainly be in favor of...not just something to use as a talking point against a meager 5 sent gas tax. Shameful.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:17 PM   #12
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A Bush appointee and graduate from Phoenix on-line "University" is not valid qualification for having bone-headed opinions. Truly regrettable and which we can rue is the fact she determines administration policy in her department and through this expresses warped political policy. The incompetence of this administration, like mold, extends into and so rots society.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:26 PM   #13
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Bikes are technically a means of transportation, but not to anywhere near the degree of use that would make considering them as such logical when spending gas tax money on infrastructure.

Gas tax money should be spent on infrastructure for vehicles that burn gas, that's fair.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
GWEN IFILL: No, but I mean -- I guess I mean is for the part that they asked for where they would essentially charge commuters coming into Manhattan eight dollars a head.

MARY PETERS: What we approved was the project that they would pursue, congestion relief, pricing techniques to pursue congestion relief in New York City
...
this congestion process gives them the ability to get out of being stuck in traffic, to make the air cleaner, to use less fuel, to create a better environment in their city, I think it's a great idea."

Somehow we need to reduce the amount of people driving vehicles into cities to reduce congestion and make the air cleaner.

Anybody have any ideas?
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Old 08-16-07, 10:53 PM   #15
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What really irks me about her comments is how she seems to emphasize that bike paths are eating away from the monies needed to build our infrastructure. On the other hand her boss, our president, is doing things like this:

"When President Bush signed the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, FY 2007 (P.L. 110-5) on February 15, 2007, it included a directive to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to order states to surrender $3.471 billion in highway program funds, by relinquishing funds from state “unobligated program balances.” This is the largest single rescission in the history of the federal transportation program, an amount that is nearly as large as the total of the three rescission orders ($3.845 billion) executed during the last fiscal year (FY’06)."-http://www.transact.org/updates/Rescission_Update.doc

Bike paths do not take 10% of the funds. Its only a part of that 10% and actually costs only 1% of it. Yet her comments make it seem like the highway programs are not being done because all the money is going to special interest projects only.

Gah, I can't wait for this administration to get out of office.

EDIT: I wonder where all these money is actually going. The "war" maybe. Just MHO.
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Old 08-16-07, 11:13 PM   #16
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Gas tax money should be spent on infrastructure for vehicles that burn gas, that's fair.
Fair enough, but the gasoline tax only funds 60-70% of Oregon's road upkeep in a given year. I may not be paying for gasoline taxes, but having a bike as my primary means of transportation does not exempt me from paying income and property taxes - which is where the rest of the money comes from here. Given that, I find it perfectly fair for road funds to pay for some MUPs. Ours are clogged with bike commuters during rush hour. Perhaps it is different in states where the federal gasoline tax funds 100% of road upkeep. So which states are those?
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Old 08-16-07, 11:15 PM   #17
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A Bush appointee and graduate from Phoenix on-line "University" is not valid qualification for having bone-headed opinions. Truly regrettable and which we can rue is the fact she determines administration policy in her department and through this expresses warped political policy. The incompetence of this administration, like mold, extends into and so rots society.
partisan pablum that uses the usual tactics rather than actually critically dissecting a policy on merit or demerit. Get a clue if you are going to attempt to participate in an intelligent debate.
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Old 08-17-07, 04:26 AM   #18
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While my understanding of the matter may be weak, I don't see why Federal funds would go to bike paths. Federal funds for the national defense highway system (Interstates) and for Federal highways makes sense. That's a national concern relating to the common good and to the common defense. In contrast, the overwhelming majority if not all but a very few paths serve a local audience not involved in interstate commerce. I'm surprised Federal funds go to bike paths at all, except as reasonable add-ons to Federal highway projects. For example, adding provisions for bicycle travel across bridges seems necessary to meet possible (I hope they're there) requirements not to unduly impede vehicles.

Given the way the Feds tend to handle things, I'm not sure having Federal involvement and control over more things than necessary would be particularly helpful. Simply looks like a way to have $2M/mile bike paths supported by 10,000 lbs/mile of paperwork.
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Old 08-17-07, 05:55 AM   #19
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I have to agree that Bike paths are not for transportation. At least the ones I have seen. They don't go where I need to go. They tend to go from neighborhood to neighborhood and not to places of work, shopping centers, or schools. They are useless and a waste of money!
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Old 08-17-07, 07:26 AM   #20
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It's funny that the only real bike path around here is so packed with folks going nowhere it's almost useless, regardless of the fact that it goes nowhere and no one uese it for transportation.

While I am a transportational rider and have been for several decades, I can see a need for bike paths that are primarily recreational. People need places to get out and have some fun just as much.

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Old 08-17-07, 07:52 AM   #21
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Gah, I can't wait for this administration to get out of office.
and what makes you think the next administration is going to be any better?!?!?
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Old 08-17-07, 08:18 AM   #22
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Perhaps it would benefit cyclists if the government applied stricter criteria for selection of which bike path projects should be funded with transportation money?

For instance, a paved rail-trail that connects with a transportation hub or major employment center might be prioritized over an equestrian-and-jogger-friendly soft-surface trail in a rural area. Or a bike/ped bridge over a freeway to reconnect a community severed by the motor vehicle facility (offsetting its direct impact) might be prioritized over a bridge to carry a recreational trail over a river.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:21 AM   #23
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While I am a transportational rider and have been for several decades, I can see a need for bike paths that are primarily recreational. People need places to get out and have some fun just as much.
That's why my city funds these with recreation funds form the Parks and Rec budget. I strongly support such use of recreation funds and I support making Parks and Rec a significant part of the city budget based on local non-gasoline taxes.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:22 AM   #24
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I have to agree that Bike paths are not for transportation. At least the ones I have seen. They don't go where I need to go. They tend to go from neighborhood to neighborhood and not to places of work, shopping centers, or schools. They are useless and a waste of money!
Certainly, where I am, they are not for transportation, but that's not to say they couldn't be.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:27 AM   #25
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The biggest problem I see is that those who are attempting to obtain transportation funding for recreational trails, particularly long, contiguous paths wherever they can obtain them, are better organized (and better funded by their own trail-related businesses and NGOs) than those of us who support the creation of shorter urban short-cut paths to provide convenient new connections and alternate routes where they are most useful for utility cycling.
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