DOT Chief: Two-Wheelers Don’t Count

Writer protests claim that bike funding harms roads and bridges
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2007 6:17 PM CDT
DOT Chief: Two-Wheelers Don’t Count
Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announces $354 million in federal funding to help reduce traffic congestion in New York City, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007, during a news conference at the Transportation Department in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   (Associated Press)

Bicyclists and green activists beg to differ with Mary Peters, the US transportation secretary who decreed last month that bicycle and walking paths shouldn’t fall under her funding purview, and spending on them may be to blame for the poor state of roads and bridges. Advocates of pedal power have been in an uproar ever since Peters said biking and walking are  "are really not transportation," Salon reports.

Peters complained that only 60% of transportation funding goes to roads, but didn’t mention that another 30% goes to public transit. As to bikers and pedestrians, only 1.5% of those monies help them—even though 10% of all transportation is on two wheels or none. So what’s behind Peters’ claim? Katharine Mieszkowski says she may want to shush talk of a gas tax hike by claiming there’s money hiding under misplaced priorities. (Read more gas tax stories.)

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