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Strike Three: Another Senator Takes Another Swipe At Bike-Ped Funding

11:52 AM PDT on October 27, 2011

Last month, the Senate’s notorious vote-blocker, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, tried to obstruct Senate processuntil they voted on his measure to take bike/ped funding out of the transportation bill. He failed.

Then last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)suggested keeping bike/ped money but stripping out lots of other budget items that serve cyclists and pedestrians (as well as everybody else), like streetscaping. He failed too.

And now here comes Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, one of the kookiest of Congress’s Tea Party-affiliated newcomers, with a brilliant idea to shift all bike/ped funding — and everything else that gets funded through the embattled Transportation Enhancement program — over to bridge repair. Paul characterizes TE as a fund for “turtle tunnels and squirrel sanctuaries and all this craziness.”

Now, we’re all in favor of bridge repair. We agree that the crumbling of our nation’s infrastructure is shameful and dangerous. But really, you’re going to restore bridge safety by cutting bike safety? Get real, Senator.

Paul’s spooky amendment is scheduled for a vote the day after Halloween. It’ll be attached to the Senate transportation appropriations bill, which comes up for a vote that day by the full chamber.

Darren Flusche of the League of American Bicyclists noted in his blog post that Sen. Paul should let the Senate EPW Committee, which has jurisdiction over writing the next transportation bill, do its job. Flusche argues that the committee’s November 9 bill markup “would be the appropriate time to discuss changes to the overall transportation program, not during the appropriations process.”

Transportation for America recently criticized Sen. Paul for his misguided attack on active transportation:

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