Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eric Cantor and bicycling

Tom Bowden, advocacy chairman with BikeVA, has an opinion article in today's Post about Congressman Eric Cantor of Virignia and bicycling. Congressman Cantor is well-known among cyclists for supporting cuts to bicycle funding from the transportation budget, including cutting funding for the very successful Safe Routes to School Program. In the Post article, Welcome to the bike path, Mr. Cantor, Bowden, a conservative Republican, makes a good argument why other conservatives should support bicycling:
Then I’d remind him of the economic benefits of cycling — not just for cyclists, but for the community at large. Lower health-care costs benefit all of us. Fewer cars reduces the need for expensive new roads and parking lots, and it means fewer deaths and injuries from vehicle-related accidents. And jobs? Bike projects create jobs, all right — more than 11 jobs per million dollars vs. 8 jobs per million for highways.

Plus, bikes and a safe bike-commuting environment help people get to work even if they don’t have a car. In Richmond, some 18 percent of households can’t afford a car, and 60 percent of households share a single car among several adults. Bikes can help them get and keep jobs. Right now, biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the United States and cost about 2 percent of transportation dollars. Yep, there are plenty of strong economic arguments for bikes that should appeal to thoughtful Republicans. I’ve got plenty more where these came from.

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