Friday, 25 of April of 2014

Getting Your Fair Share … For Bikes

Bicycling is a great recreational activity.  My kids have bikes.  It’s also great for adults, and I certainly respect people who choose to bicycle to work or to get around.  If that is their preference … more power to ya!

But should national transportation policy be re-oriented around the promotion of bicycling as a viable alternative to automobiles.  Only in La-La Land.

Or, rather, in La-La-LaHood Land.  U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spoke recently to the National Bike Summit and had this to say about transportation policy:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

By favoring he means funding.  Consistent with the overreaching policies in the Obama Administration’s Livability Initiative, LaHood wants to direct federal dollars away from roads and toward bike lanes and bike paths.  Will this relieve congestion?  No.  Will it satisfy a progressive, anti-automobile constituency?  Yes.

Smart Growthers put a lot of faith in planning and in these ridiculous “solutions” to our transportation problems.  Portland, Oregon – the Mecca of Smart Growth – is putting $20 million into a Bicycle Master Plan.

And it is a faith.  Way back in 2003 before Howard Dean imploded in Iowa, this progressive leader was the front-runner for President as a Democratic.  In an otherwise kids-glove interview with George Stephanopoulos,  Dean revealed why he left the Episcopalian church.

Dean said he was raised Episcopalian but left the church “because I had a big fight with a local Episcopal church about 25 years ago over the bike path . . . .”

“Over the bike path?” an incredulous Stephanopoulos asked.

“We were trying to get the bike path built,” Dean answered. “They had control of a mile and a half of railroad bed, and they decided they would pursue a property-right suit to refuse to allow the bike path to be developed.”

Note that is wasn’t just the priority of the bike path but also the assertion of property rights by the property owner, in this case the Epsicopalian church, that led to Dean’s departure.  When things like bike paths get cast under the umbrella of “transportation choice,” let’s not lose sight of the fact that it involves not just the diversion of tax money to pet projects but also a built-in hostility to the principles that make us free – including private property rights and free enterprise.

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