At first reading, I thought that this piece in HuffPo by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was a tongue in cheek attempt to show how pork laden is the bail out bill.
Halfway through it, to my horror, I discovered he is absolutely dead serious. He is taking Republicans to task for opposing the funding of bike trails, paths, and other cyclist goodies:
With this latest attempt to strip bike finding from the recovery bill, Republicans have once again demonstrated how out of touch they are with their pathologically short-sighted attacks on bicycles. To their detriment, they are continuing their trend from last Congress of using the most economical, energy-efficient, and healthy forms of transportation as their whipping post. Investment in bike paths will not only improve our economy, and take our country in the right direction for the future; it is exactly the kind of investment the American people want.
Moreover, bicycle and pedestrian paths are precisely the kind of infrastructure projects our country needs. These projects tend to the most "shovel-ready" and are more labor-intensive than other projects-- therefore putting more people to work per dollar spent.
We might have understood these attacks a decade ago, but today they ignore the explosion of bicycling in this country in recent years that has been nothing short of phenomenal. There are tens of millions of American cyclists and even more who want their children to be able to bike and walk to school safely and therefore support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.
American families have indicated time and again in the passage of bond measures across the country that they favor spending on alternative transportation, such as bicycles and mass transit, over spending on mere highway capacity. Americans want real solutions to the economic crisis, not just a band-aid fix. These investments will stimulate our economy now - when it counts and point our nation toward the economic and environmental realities of the future.
Recent transportation surveys indicate that 52% of Americans want to bike more than they do now - but don't, because of the lack of safe and connected bicycle facilities.
You know what? He is correct - up to a point. And he even mentions the point in his article; these bike improvements are locally funded through bonds. In fact, many bike trails are built by volunteers or constructed via local chambers of commerce and other businesses.
The point is, there are many ways to fund these bike projects without using other people's tax dollars to do it. If there was ever an example of local funding being superior to federal tax dollars being used, this is it.