Blumenauer in Parade Mag

In Parade Magazine today:

A Greener Commute
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) leads the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, a bipartisan group that helped secure $4.5 billion in funding for bike and pedestrian initiatives.

Why care about cycling now?
Right now, the U.S. consumes about 10% of the world’s oil supply just to get back and forth to work. If we are able to reintroduce the bicycle into our communities, we are going to make it easier for people to break our addiction to oil. I have cycled to work in Washington, D.C., for 12 years. I’ve burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.

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2 Responses to “Blumenauer in Parade Mag”

  • Mark says:

    Just curious… where is the (political) will to invest in renewable energy technology accelerators? Perhaps there aren’t as many “constituents” for this innovative solution to our energy problems.

  • Geoff says:

    I lived in the MD and VA suburbs of DC for 46 years and commuted to work by bike for 27 of those. I was a ‘card-carrying member’ of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and associated off and on with the League of American Bicyclists for many years. I’m fully aware of Mr. Blumenauer’s passion for biking and his leadership of the Congressional Bike Caucus. They have done a lot to help foster biking around the country, with support for ISTEA legislation, etc. But this new ‘bike commuter subsidy’ bill that was rammed through as part of the ‘bailout package’ is a BAD piece of legislation, IMHO. The principal reason is that it will set up a program to give money to “bicycle commuters” who theoretically ride to and from work extensively. The problem is simply that there is NO way to ensure that the people are riding to and from work on bikes, or that they even ARE bicyclists when the money’s being passed out. There is no practical way to enforce and punish fraud. And there will have to be a hike in taxes to pay for this. Anyone can buy a beater bike, lash it up with a cheap chain lock someplace around the office, or in the building’s garage, and claim you are biking to work. Then you get a monthly check from the government (or your employer, who files for a tax rebate for this). Enforcement to eliminate the fraud will be akin to trying to police the old welfare system, which is why IT eventually HAD to crash and burn. The fraud was becoming endemic. I predict it will with this system, too, and everyone who actually DOES ride a bike to and from work, and who actually IS being part of the solution to our jam-packed urban gridlock, will get caught up in the scandal and retributive anger that will result. The reason this bill didn’t pass before now was that it was ill-conceived. The reason it was amended to the bailout bill was basically the same system of ‘blackmail’ that rebellious Congressional leadership uses on so many other of their schemes; they think they can ‘get away’ with it. That — and attempting to keep armed U.S. troops in about half the countries around the world is why we have a $9 TRILLION national debt right now and why our economy is in a shambles. Much clearer thinking is required. I think cleaning out the entire Congress (who’s collective public performance rating is now BELOW 10%) would be a good start. Then…let’s rebuild it with term limits, salary caps, and a retirement program tied to Social Security, instead of their own sweetheart plan that gives them their full salary for life (even after just one term in the House). How looney is THAT?! Oh…and I don’t need to be ‘anonymous’….my name is Geoff.

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