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Bike Path Hijinks Begin in New Congress


The DC Streetsblog reports news from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that shows the uphill battle for cycling that’s ahead in the new Congress.

In short, the committee – which isn’t fully fleshed out yet, even! – is discussing putting together a massive infrastructure bill. In a time of crumbling bridges and increasing demand for transit options, this is a good thing. However, top Republican committee member James Inhofe is concerned that the bill contains “other things.” Turns out other things include bike trails. Lobbyists from the National Construction Alliance and the Associated General Contractors of America naturally started trash-talking bike trails as infrastructure.

Democrats on the committee defend bike paths as infrastructure.

Right now, discussion of a bill remains in committee. However, one of the Democrats on the committee is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Minnesotans interested in having infrastructure bills include amenities like bicycle trails should consider writing to Senator Klobuchar to express support of such concepts.

If you send a message to Senator Klobuchar, I recommend making it personal and specifically discuss what bike trails and bike lanes mean to you in a day-to-day sense. Ask her to advocate for such infrastructure in her committee role, and suggest she become a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus to show solidarity with cyclists. Typically, a letter to a Senator or Representative should request specific support of bills – but in this case, there’s not a formal bill for the committee to vote on yet!

The most efficient way to contact her is via her e-mail form, which allows for a personal message but avoids the mayhem that is Capitol mail. (Security is weird since the anthrax incident some years back.)

Note that Senator Klobuchar is not one of the committee members cited in opposition to trails-as-infrastructure. However, expressing support is a valuable tool for Senators, who can often make use of correspondence and constituent stories as part of their work.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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