Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The transition of presidential power is complete, but the real work has just begun. If cyclists want to see more livable, walkable, bikeable city development, we need to keep making noise and not drift quietly into the night. Forces like the highway lobby are preparing to undermine change by demanding the status quo in transportation budgeting. State DOTs all across the country have prepared stimulus priorities, many of which ignore or downplay alternative transit, or even needed road and bridge repair, in favor of new highway expansion projects.
We cannot allow the Federal Government to write the States a blank check for infrastructure spending, since our state governments seem woefully ignorant of the realities in our urban areas or any concern for sustainable development. Once we repair what is broken like bridges ready to collapse, we need real future investments, like better public transit, high-speed rail, cycling and pedestrian safety improvements, not just more lanes on the freeway we scarcely have land for. We must demand that there be clear priorities and accountability to any infrastructure stimulus package. For fellow West Siders our house representative is Henry Waxman and the representatives for California in the senate are Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Democracy is only as good as we make it to be.