Republicans risk $1 billion in revenue to squash a trickle of funding for biking and walking
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is threatening to hold up the passage of the transportation bill over a tiny portion of its funding, which (of course!) happens to be the portion dedicated to forms of transportation other than cars and highways. Streetsblog explains what's at stake here:
Sen. Coburn, and possibly other members of Congress, are declaring their willingness to throw the entire transportation industry, as well as commuters, under the bus while they quibble about the pennies spent on bike paths. According to the White House, if the bill is delayed just 10 days, the country would lose over $1 billion in transportation funding — “money we can never get back.”
In a letter to the White House, Republican leaders tried to make the funding that they're opposing seem like total fluff by objecting to "acquisition of scenic easements" (buying pretty views) and "operation of historic transportation facilities" (those stupid, touristy trains that go sooo slowly). And sure, some of the "Transportation Enhancements" that they're fighting might not be of national necessity. But money for transportation enhancements goes mostly towards enhancing the lives and transportation options of pedestrians and cyclists, which isn't fluffy at all.
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