I sent the following message to my U.S. Representative (and copied it to the Obama-Biden Economic Policy Team) as part of the League of American Bicyclist’s initiative to guide transportation infrastructure investments likely to come out of the coming economic stimulus legislation.
Dear Congressman Kirk:
I fully support investment in upgrading our nation’s public infrastructure as part of an economic stimulus package both designed to provide jobs and stabilize our foundering economy in the short-term as well as build our country’s productive capacity in the long-term. In considering investment in transportation infrastructure, I urge you to emphasize multimodal transportation initiatives which will provide alternatives to our current automobile-centric system and its associated problems of greenhouse gas and other pollution, traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, and dependence upon foreign oil. To do otherwise and simply throw money at traditional automobile-centric transportation projects may provide short-term benefit, but wastes the opportunity to direct future growth in a healthier and more sustainable direction.
While significant funding should be allocated to maintain and improve the safety and capacity of existing roads and bridges, investments in new transportation initiatives should emphasize multimodal options, especially pedestrian and bicycle trails, which promote energy efficiency, stronger communities, and healthier citizens. As a regular bicycle commuter, I know first hand the value of having a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trail within a block of both my home and office. I am further fortunate enough to live within walking distance of commuter rail service, giving me a public transportation alternative when bicycling is not viable. We must use this opportunity to open these transportation alternatives to the majority of our citizens, rather than a fortunate few.
Please use this opportunity to both advance the long-term good of our nation at the same time as we make necessary investments to bolster short-term employment. The America Bikes Coalition has presented a list of hundreds of ready-to-go active transportation projects from communities across the country to the House leadership, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee. Invest in these and other long-term cost-effective multimodal transportation initiatives so that active and public transportation become the norm, rather than the exception, for Americans.
Thank you for your quick action to create new jobs and spur economic recovery while simultaneously serving the long-term best interests of the nation.