In a July 5 article called “How the Great Reset has Already Changed America,” for the Atlantic, Richard Florida describes how our elected leaders are lagging behind and even moving in directions that suggest a disconnection from our current reality. He writes, “… our political and business leaders continue to look backwards, wasting precious time and resources on futile attempts to resuscitate the same dysfunctional system of banks, sprawl, and inefficient and energy-wasting ways of life that brought about the crisis in the first place.”
It’s hard to imagine a better example of backwards-looking ideas than House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica’s proposed transportation reauthorization bill, which he announced yesterday. It will eliminate dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking. Mica apparently deems spending in these areas to be “not in the federal interest.” Meanwhile Sen. James Inhofe, the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill in the Senate, has stated one of his top three priorities is to eliminate “frivolous spending” on bicycle facilities, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
These merciless cuts are not aimed at reducing the deficit, reviving the economy, creating jobs, improving transportation choices or serving the American people.
- Did the lawmakers consider a national study finds that bicycle and pedestrian projects create 46 percent more jobs per dollar invested than road-only projects?
- Did they consider the impact of transportation spending that will keep millions of Americans dependent on their cars for every single trip they make, contributing to obesity rates that have climbed at least 90 percent in 17 states from 1995 to last year?
- Did they consider the medical care costs of obesity totaled more about $147 billion on 2008 dollars?
- Did they consider the real economic benefits millions of individual Americans derive from using bicycles for transportation?
It’s clear they did not.