Seems like bicycling heroes are coming out of the woodwork these days. I'd missed this in all the coverage of the extension, but was gratified to see that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's opposition to Sen. Coburn's machinations weren't just in the interest of smooth procedure. The man actually cares about bike/ped issues.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also defended [Transportation Enhancements] on grounds that bicycle paths would help Americans consume less gasoline.
“The issue [Coburn] has presented is a little unusual,” said Reid on Thursday morning. “He says that he doesn’t like bicycle paths being part of the highway bill. Well, for most Americans, they are absolutely important. It’s good for purposes of allowing people to travel without burning all the fossil fuel on the highways.”
Reid added that he had taken his morning run in Washington and noticed “scores” of people commuting by bike or foot.
Sen. Boxer has been in rare form as well, standing up to defend federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs. The article quotes her as saying Transportation Enhancements are "about saving lives." Take that, everybody who belittles TE as "beautification" projects.
Meanwhile, Sen. Coburn's aides appear concerned that he and Boxer have two different ideas about the deal that was struck yesterday, allowing the bill to pass and the senators to go back home for the weekend instead of staying to fight it out. Next week, we should all have a clearer idea of exactly what is and what isn't going to be in the final bill (if one is ever passed).
Tanya became Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor in September 2010 after covering Congress for Pacifica Radios Washington bureau and for public radio stations around the country. She lives car-free in a transit-oriented and bike-friendly neighborhood of Washington, DC.