The League of American Bicyclists as well as the Portland Bicycle Transportation Alliance has gone all hands on deck over the new proposed transportation bill.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act would axe a bunch of dedicated pots of money for walking and biking.
As you can see from the cover, it's all about cars and oil.
But that's the problem with it - that it's about cars and oil, not that it cuts already paltry amounts for walking and biking.
The current system isn't working. Transportation Enhancements are nice and all, but the fact is the TE mentality layers "extras" over a transportation system structured around "sort and separate," evaluated by Levels of Service for drive-alone trips, and meant primarily for Carburbian Autoists. In this system, facilities for people who walk and bike are frills.
That system is broken.
So arguing over teensy allocations for walking and biking doesn't really change anything. Contrary to the LAB's assertion, retaining the current system isn't a program for the 21st century. Retaining the current system is a program from the 70s and 80s.*
That's last century. It's all fiddling while Rome burns.
I would like to see dedicated pots eliminated and a block grant go to the State, and for advocates to accelerate the development of "least cost planning" here in Oregon, under which programs for walking and biking would be competitive indeed. I would also like to see a revised mobility standard that accounts for moving people rather than service for drive-alone trips.
That's transportation reform to get excited about. Arguing about nits on the edges? Mobilizing desperately for crumbs? Not so much.
What do you think?
* As I understand it the TE program started with ISTEA, the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. That's "ice tea" like "NesTea." QED.