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Old 11-03-10, 06:50 PM   #1
trailz
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After the elections (not partisan) where are we headed?

Here's an excellent read from bikeportland.org as to what leaders in bike advocacy are thinking after last nights voting.

http://bikeportland.org/2010/11/03/n...124#more-42124
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Old 11-03-10, 07:02 PM   #2
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If we can convince a few of the members of Congress, new faces and old, that running a trade deficit is bad economics, then we have a solid non-partisan issue. We import over two-thirds of the oil we burn and a fairly large amount of that burning is taking place for very short (2-10 mile) trips that even an overweight American can walk or ride if they perceive it to be safe. Building safe, effective bike and ped infrastructure doesn't force anyone out of their car, it just gets some cars out of their way.

Now I'm going to go thank my lucky stars that I don't live in one of the regions that voted Neanderthals into office. Yes, that is partisan.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:29 PM   #3
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As far as Oberstar is concerned, he was good for cycling, but bad for my job. He had a vendetta against FedEx and a willingness to push legislation that would have greatly complicated the way my employer does business. Since I'd rather have a job than a bike path, I'm glad to see him go.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:49 PM   #4
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The guy in Colorado who said that bike paths were a commie plot (I am barely exaggerating here) went down to crushing defeat, and the even-crazier guy who jumped into the race lost too. Between them they have probably knocked one of the major political parties to minority status on the Colorado ballot for the foreseeable future.
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Old 11-03-10, 08:29 PM   #5
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I'm sure Bikes Belong has been working hard at getting a new Congress critter to send money their way. That is probably the entire point of their People for Bikes campaign. I'd give it no more than a year before it's business as usual.

But then again, I'm a cynical anarchist.
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Old 11-03-10, 08:37 PM   #6
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I just hoping the new idiot in charge our our state doesn't rip us off like he did medicaid.

I'm also hoping he doens't overturn our high speed and commuter rail initiatives.
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Old 11-03-10, 09:13 PM   #7
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Well, thats just great. Now there is no chance of slowing down the chipseal campaign currently unleashed upon our embattled roadways...
Buy stock in fat bicycle tires.
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Old 11-04-10, 03:56 AM   #8
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The result will be more money for highways and less for public transportation and bikes.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:32 AM   #9
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to hell, if we don't change our ways
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Old 11-04-10, 05:49 AM   #10
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Well, it looks like our president is using an increased republican majority in the House as an excuse to back-pedal on a global warming initiative. With more global warming gases comes more carbon dioxide and less oxygen. Enjoy your ride.
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Old 11-04-10, 07:28 AM   #11
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The MD governor's results will have an affect on cyclists around DC. The incumbent/winner is a big supporter of the Purple Line light rail, which will gobble up a major recreational/commuter trail in Montgomery county.

OTOH the apparent winner of Virgina 11th is a big cycling supporter.
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Old 11-04-10, 07:52 AM   #12
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I think it's a very dangerous trend for bike/pedestrian advocacy to become identified with only one political party, rather than politically neutrally, but that increasingly seems to be the case today. I would like to help reverse that, but I'm not sure how to do so. People of all political persuasions ride bikes, and everyone is a pedestrian at least some of the time. And there are aspects of bicycling that I would think would appeal to both ends of the political spectrum. But I think the problems seem to be the increasingly divergent "culture" that different groups in America are a part of, and how politics is affected by that.

For the conservatives in particular, I would think that bicycling would be an appealing thing because of the self-sufficiency aspects of it (both individually and on a societal level); the frugality of it; the potential reduction of the need for so much government spending on roads and other things to support the effects of cars; and the reduction in oil imports. And yet a lot of them don't seem to see it that way, as mentioned above, for reasons that seem irrational to me and that I don't fully understand. The only thing I can think of is that this partisan gap is in large part a function of the age and type of people who tend to support each major political party. If a lot of the GOP base lived most of their lives in an era in which bicycles were viewed as little more than children's toys, it's probably hard for them to picture them as a major part of our transportation picture.

BTW, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia (who was elected last year, not this year) has also proposed diverting bike/ped funds to pay for, of all things, highway rest stops and tourism promotion. Clearly, his view of bicycling is as recreation only, and apparently not as a high priority even in that category. That anyone is actually thinking of CUTTING bike funds is appalling to me, given that the spending is already massively inadequate.

Last edited by mnemia; 11-04-10 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:10 AM   #13
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Non partisan---not hardly. Even the boogie man "global warming" was trotted out.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:18 AM   #14
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Non partisan---not hardly. Even the boogie man "global warming" was trotted out.
I think he meant the article.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:43 AM   #15
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I'm reasonably optimistic.

Previous generations made it through the Civil War.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:24 AM   #16
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Austin voters did pass a $90 million transportation bond issue that is about 40% dedicated to things that are not roads for cars -- which is pretty much unprecedented around here (and the source of most of the opposition to it.)

So the election turned out good for the cyclists here, at least in that regard.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:28 AM   #17
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I've concluded that federal and state politicians will do very little to advocate for cycling. Its the folks at the local level that really do most of the work.

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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
The guy in Colorado who said that bike paths were a commie plot (I am barely exaggerating here) went down to crushing defeat, and the even-crazier guy who jumped into the race lost too. Between them they have probably knocked one of the major political parties to minority status on the Colorado ballot for the foreseeable future.
Maes got >10% of the vote. That's all he needed for Republican party to maintain status as a major party. What's even more interesting is the fact that the ACP is now a major party in CO due to how many votes Tancredo won.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:39 AM   #18
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As I read the election results I was thinking of the old Who song; "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."

I don't expect it to happen, but I'd love to see them get some fiscal responsibility and start reducing the size of the national debt and the unfunded liabilities (social security and medicare). The first ammounts to about $30,000 per person in the country and with the second the number is ten times that or about $300,000 per person.

Everybody can argue about what to spend money on, but when the money runs out everybody gets the same answer, no...
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Old 11-04-10, 09:47 AM   #19
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I've concluded that federal and state politicians will do very little to advocate for cycling. Its the folks at the local level that really do most of the work.
While this is definitely true as far as showing vocal support for it, in my experience, actually providing the funding is another story. I've lived in several places now where the local politicians basically told local bike advocacy groups that they would be happy to enhance bike infrastructure...if the federal or state government provided most of the money (although these are mid-sized cities...big cities probably have more resources). I worry that if too much federal and state funding is cut, the local governments will just not bother at all. Apparently spending even a couple hundred thousand dollars a year is sometimes too much to ask, despite the fact that they routinely build and widen roads that cost millions and millions of dollars per mile.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:59 AM   #20
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As I read the election results I was thinking of the old Who song; "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."

I don't expect it to happen, but I'd love to see them get some fiscal responsibility and start reducing the size of the national debt and the unfunded liabilities (social security and medicare). The first ammounts to about $30,000 per person in the country and with the second the number is ten times that or about $300,000 per person.

Everybody can argue about what to spend money on, but when the money runs out everybody gets the same answer, no...
When money is tight, governments cut things that are seen as "optional" by many of the politicians first before they cut things that have big constituencies behind them. So things like bike/ped often end up first on the chopping block despite the fact that their cost is minimal in comparison to e.g., road building. At the federal level, non-defense discretionary spending always gets cut first, despite the fact that its impact on the budget is much smaller than defense programs or entitlement spending, because again, the political risk of making cuts there is less. So we don't ever solve our budget problems, but we actually end up cutting a lot of the things that would be very cost-effective ways of addressing some of our problems. For example, growth in Medicare and Medicaid cost is one of the main things crippling our budget right now, and one major reason (far from the only reason, though) for that is the increasingly sedentary lifestyle many Americans are leading. We could severely cut into future Medicare and Medicaid costs by spending a bit more more money on "active transportation" projects, and a number of studies have shown this to be true: the ROI is huge. So a mindless "cut everything" mentality is not productive: we should instead evaluate the costs vs. benefits of all spending and how it will affect future costs.

The large problems with the budget probably can't be solved without raising taxes on at least some of the population and making major defense and entitlement cuts. I don't see the two major parties agreeing to do that, so the debt will likely just continue to increase for the time being since now our government is split.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:25 AM   #21
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I honestly donít expect any noticeable changes in cycling conditions or anything else for that matter, no matter who is in office.

While the difference between what opposing politicians say is sometimes huge, the difference of what they actually can do is often quite small.

Balance the budgets and cut taxes? Yeah right. I'll vote for that.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:40 AM   #22
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I honestly don’t expect any noticeable changes in cycling conditions or anything else for that matter, no matter who is in office.

While the difference between what opposing politicians say is sometimes huge, the difference of what they actually can do is often quite small.

Balance the budgets and cut taxes? Yeah right. I'll vote for that.

I mostly agree. But the rail trail legislation has been pretty big in my area. Partially because of the money, and partially because it provided new right of ways.

Other than that it all happens at a local level here. But I think a significant chunk of funding always ends up being federal. I don't know if they're earmarks, or TE funding, or what. I suspect that funding may start to disappear, and in anti-tax Nebraska that'll just mean there won't be money: The state won't bother to tax to pay for services people want. We'll just "do without."


I'm concerned to see TE go because it was starting to turn into real money. I'd really like to see biking and walking get their share instead of being accused of being a burden. If we fund cars federally then we should fund the others federally because we're not adult enough to fund them otherwise.
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Old 11-04-10, 11:16 AM   #23
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I mostly agree. But the rail trail legislation has been pretty big in my area. Partially because of the money, and partially because it provided new right of ways.

Other than that it all happens at a local level here. But I think a significant chunk of funding always ends up being federal. I don't know if they're earmarks, or TE funding, or what. I suspect that funding may start to disappear, and in anti-tax Nebraska that'll just mean there won't be money: The state won't bother to tax to pay for services people want. We'll just "do without."


I'm concerned to see TE go because it was starting to turn into real money. I'd really like to see biking and walking get their share instead of being accused of being a burden. If we fund cars federally then we should fund the others federally because we're not adult enough to fund them otherwise.
A good portion of it IS earmarks. We got some good local bike/ped projects that we never would have gotten otherwise out of earmark spending recently. Earmark spending has become politically toxic, however, especially in the GOP, because it's often identified as pork, and some of it is. But it's one of the largest sources of bike/ped funding. As I said before, it's a convenient target to go after small projects that are funded by earmarks when you want to tout cutting spending, because you can cut spending without taking any serious political risk like you would have to in order to cut Social Security or defense. Unfortunately, the spending is minimal in comparison, so it's basically just a symbolic scapegoat for the larger problems with government overspending.
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Old 12-15-10, 09:17 AM   #24
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I'm a little late on the news here but I just saw this blog post about Jim Oberstar: http://www.montaguebikes.com/folding...hat-we-do-now/
I hadn't realized we had lost such an advocate in congress
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Old 12-15-10, 10:04 AM   #25
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As a cyclist I too would like to see money directed to cycling projects. However if these projects fall under the business as usual tax and spend it is going to have to be tempered with common sense. If I have to make a choice of ridding a nice hiker biker trail that will be charged to my granddaughter, I will chose to do without. The country is almost 14 TRILLION dollars in debt. Its time to only spend what we can afford. Money does not grow on trees!!!!!!
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