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  1. #1
    Senior Member mtnwalker's Avatar
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    Disturbing interview with DOT Secretary

    I also have this posted in A&S but I figured its also appropriate here.

    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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  2. #2
    Non-Prophet zmorgan's Avatar
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    first post. sorry, had to. The money being spent is tax money from gasoline purchases. I can understand not wanting to spend that money on a bike path. If property taxes or sales or some other sort of tax is being used to fund the bike bath, then good on the govt. But the gas tax is meant to repair and build roads and "infrastructure" used for vehicles that use gas.

    Don't be upset about the DOT's comment. The govt. has many pools of money that get budgeted. This is one that bikers/commuters should not be upset about losing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmorgan View Post
    But the gas tax is meant to repair and build roads and "infrastructure" used for vehicles that use gas.
    Like cars that run on electricity/hydrogen/natural gas?

    The gas tax money is not earmarked for helping to support only traffic that runs on gasoline and diesel fuel.

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    Lighthouses aren't transportation infrastructure?

  5. #5
    Non-Prophet zmorgan's Avatar
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    The gas tax existed before those technologies were realistic possiblilities. And even now, there are an extremely low number of vehicles that run on the fuels that you propose; less than bicycles I would guess.

    Just because new technologies are on the horizon does not mean that the intent behind a tax changes. How do you propose to pay for bike paths and upkeep if no one bought gas? I'm saying that crying for gas tax is counter culture.

  6. #6
    Non-Prophet zmorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    Lighthouses aren't transportation infrastructure?
    Modern day lighthouses are touristy type attractions. GPS is changing the world.

    I agree that some lighthouses protect the coast and ports from wrecks. Tarrifs or docking fees could be used to upkeep the lighthouses with true utility though.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mtnwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmorgan View Post
    first post. sorry, had to. The money being spent is tax money from gasoline purchases. I can understand not wanting to spend that money on a bike path. If property taxes or sales or some other sort of tax is being used to fund the bike bath, then good on the govt. But the gas tax is meant to repair and build roads and "infrastructure" used for vehicles that use gas.

    Don't be upset about the DOT's comment. The govt. has many pools of money that get budgeted. This is one that bikers/commuters should not be upset about losing.
    Can you explain this then:

    "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

    It seems to me that our current administration made a decision to take funding away from highway projects preventing them from getting done. Now that a fiasco happened regarding a certain bridge collapse and inspections of other bridges turning up in not so good conditions bike paths are getting blamed for the lack of money for transportation infrastructure? That is just assinine.
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  8. #8
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmorgan View Post
    How do you propose to pay for bike paths and upkeep if no one bought gas?
    Well, in Oregon the gasoline tax only covers 60-70% of road upkeep, so they make up the difference via income and property taxes. I hear that states with a sales tax often use some of the money collected from that.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  9. #9
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    I like the way this Administration attacks Jim Oberstar's (Democrat) support of bike paths and fail to mention Sen. Stevens (Republican) sponsorship of the infamous Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere". BTW, Sen. Stevens may be indicted soon because of channelling pork transportation dollars to campaign contributors.

  10. #10
    This town needs an enema.
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    I wish I could even comment on this but I am simply lost for words. This is yet another reason why historians are going to call this the "Dark Ages of American Politics."
    ^this may or may not be useful information <--this not so much.

  11. #11
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmorgan View Post
    first post. sorry, had to. The money being spent is tax money from gasoline purchases. I can understand not wanting to spend that money on a bike path. If property taxes or sales or some other sort of tax is being used to fund the bike bath, then good on the govt. But the gas tax is meant to repair and build roads and "infrastructure" used for vehicles that use gas.

    Don't be upset about the DOT's comment. The govt. has many pools of money that get budgeted. This is one that bikers/commuters should not be upset about losing.
    Nonsense! Bike paths, theoretically at least, would improve conditions on car & truck roads by pulling drivers away.

    The Secretary is clearly contradicting statements she made in 2002 quoted in the LAB response (BTW, the writer apparently forgot that it changed from "MacNeil Lehrer Newshour" to "The Newshour" many years ago).
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  12. #12
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    Tell them to worry about Ted Stevens' "Bridge to Nowhere" before they start looking at resources that people actually use:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...102001931.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravina_Island_Bridge

  13. #13
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    Two comments which others have already stated.
    Bike paths can be transportation projects (though many are not due to where they are located).
    Gasoline taxes does not fully pay for roads. Most road repair and construction has some money coming from sales property, and income taxes. Local roads are usually fully funded by non-gas taxes.

    Craig

  14. #14
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    There is no hope.
    Next, the govt. new way to treat alcoholism is to give an addict unlimited supplies of liquor

    You will be taxed accordingly.

    We truly are on our way to becoming West Calcutta if the authoritarians continue
    to be of the current caliber.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Maybe we need to consider an all volunteer government...seems that would be the way to get people that are REALLY interested in getting something done, besides lining their pockets...

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  16. #16
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    Yeah, well, bikes ruin roads at a much slower pace than cars do. The amount of gas we buy for our lawnmowers ought to cover our portion of the road upkeep.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  17. #17
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Maybe we need to consider an all volunteer government...seems that would be the way to get people that are REALLY interested in getting something done, besides lining their pockets...

    Aaron

    Ive spit and slobbered that theory for a while, Aaron....
    Government by committee. Lets say 5 People from different regions of
    each state are picked as if it was jury duty, they remain nameless
    so developers and lobbyers cannot taint them. They come to agreement on
    state issues. Real people deciding whats best for thier neighborhoods.
    They would then tell the feds thier requirements and similarly selected,
    temporary fed people would alot fundage and OK stuff for those state areas.
    Obviously, thats simplistic but we have to sever the oil/corporate noose around
    our collective necks, somehow.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmorgan View Post
    first post. sorry, had to. The money being spent is tax money from gasoline purchases. I can understand not wanting to spend that money on a bike path. If property taxes or sales or some other sort of tax is being used to fund the bike bath, then good on the govt. But the gas tax is meant to repair and build roads and "infrastructure" used for vehicles that use gas.

    Don't be upset about the DOT's comment. The govt. has many pools of money that get budgeted. This is one that bikers/commuters should not be upset about losing.
    hmmm this might just be semantics but a bike path is not the same thing as "bike lanes"... bike paths usually are localized and as such aren't really part of the infrastructure like a bike lane would be...
    I would consider a bike path similar to a park where you can go to enjoy a leisurely ride.

  19. #19
    hiphopopotamus wolfbrother's Avatar
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    I honestly can't believe the amount of tax money that gets spent on roads. While communities and cities try their hardest to scrape up dollars to build, fix or maintain public transportation systems and bike paths, there are literally billions of dollars set aside for road projects.

  20. #20
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Maybe we need to consider an all volunteer government...seems that would be the way to get people that are REALLY interested in getting something done, besides lining their pockets...
    Uhhh, do the math. Look at the monetary worth of US senators, representatives, the president, cabinet members, etc. They're the ones who are wealthy enough to finance a campaign out of pocket. They win office by throwing money at a marketing machine rather than spending years in public service, earning a reputation and building up a corps of volunteers. How on earth do you think that people like Mitts Romney, Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush ever get elected to anything? It sure isn't based on their years of public service! And -- to respond to your suggestion -- they are, in effect, a "volunteer government". They aren't in it for the salary -- they make much more money on the side. Mitts Romney made the oh so magnanimous gesture of returning his salary as governor of Massachusetts. He and those like him can afford to play politics, the sport of kings. They are rich people. Their interest in government is based on two things: ego gratification, and enacting policies that ensure that they and people like them become even more obscenely rich. The kind of people you're thinking about can't afford to be part of a "volunteer government": they have real responsibilities, they have to work for a living, they can't afford to be professional political dabblers. The idle rich will always win that game.

  21. #21
    Body By Nintendo Psydotek's Avatar
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    I interpreted as simply saying "We don't care about cycling as a form of transportation because such people don't pay a regular tax like motor vehicle transportation does (in the form of fuel tax)."

    BS

    I'm willing to bet that the majority of people DO have a car so they do pay this regular tax, maybe not as often, but then again it's pretty much proportional to the amount of driving they do and the damage inflicted on the roads by driving.

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  22. #22
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e0richt View Post
    hmmm this might just be semantics but a bike path is not the same thing as "bike lanes"... bike paths usually are localized and as such aren't really part of the infrastructure like a bike lane would be...
    I would consider a bike path similar to a park where you can go to enjoy a leisurely ride.
    I spend 20% of my 45 mile RT commute on a bike path.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  23. #23
    ****** squegeeboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=- View Post
    There is no hope.
    Next, the govt. new way to treat alcoholism is to give an addict unlimited supplies of liquor

    You will be taxed accordingly.

    We truly are on our way to becoming West Calcutta if the authoritarians continue
    to be of the current caliber.
    Next? Try already in the works:
    SEATTLE - A proposed housing unit for homeless alcoholics will mean room, board and booze.
    In the words of Einstein
    "And now I think I'll take a bath"

  24. #24
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    My Reply:

    Dear Secretary,

    I live in Los Angeles, quite possibly the most car-centric area in America. My commute is either via the 118, 5, 170, 101, and 110 (not uncrowded freeways) in my (30+mpg) scion, or via train and bicycle.

    I have made a conscious decision to try and cut traffic and try to help both myself and my city by moving to public transit and bicycle. I ride the metrolink and redline.

    On "News Hour" you said

    "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."

    I would like to point out that a bicycle path is not only INFRASTRUCTURE, but it is infrastructure that gets one more car off the road and helps ensure safety for those who are willing to do something to help cut traffic.

    Thank you for remembering that getting cars off the road DOES help not only those who chose alternate commutes, but also those who have no option but to commute via automobile, or drive for work.

    Thank you for bearing this in mind in the future.


    Most Sincerely,

    James Barros
    It is easy to win an argument, but the greater reward is to win an ally.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=- View Post
    Ive spit and slobbered that theory for a while, Aaron....
    Government by committee. Lets say 5 People from different regions of
    each state are picked as if it was jury duty, they remain nameless
    so developers and lobbyers cannot taint them. They come to agreement on
    state issues. Real people deciding whats best for thier neighborhoods.
    They would then tell the feds thier requirements and similarly selected,
    temporary fed people would alot fundage and OK stuff for those state areas.
    Obviously, thats simplistic but we have to sever the oil/corporate noose around
    our collective necks, somehow.
    Actually I prefer the government by lottery theory...you get picked you go serve one term and go home never to serve again...beats the crap out of current "best politicians money can buy" system.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

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