Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on June 13th, 2008 at 9:49 am
Bicycle Retailer & Industry News magazine (known as BRAIN) reports this morning that in a meeting yesterday with bicycle industry representatives, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said if eleceted he would, “increase funding for cycling and pedestrian projects.”
Obama held a private, 20-minute meeting with members of the Bikes Belong board of directors. According to BRAIN,
He also told them he seldom makes promises on what he would do if elected president, but that this was a promise he would keep.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) was present at the meeting after Obama left and referred to the bike industry as “a force” and said it was “historic” for leaders from the bike industry to meet privately with a presidential candidate at this stage in a White House run.
160 people reportedly turned up for the event. Among them were Bikes Belong executive director Tim Blumenthal, cycling legend Greg LeMond, the president of SRAM Stan Day, and others from both the supply and retail side of the industry.
Obama’s promise to fund cycling isn’t technically groundbreaking. In the last Transportation Bill (passed in 2005), the Safe Routes to Schools program received over $600 million dollars and it’s safe to say that number will jump way up when the next bill is passed in 2009.
What is truly historic about this news is the context of the meeting itself. Senator Obama made national headlines last week for riding around the streets of Chicago with this daughter in tow, and now he has made time to listen and get to know the leaders of the bike industry.
Anyone that thinks Obama is simply playing politics and trying to win votes should keep in mind that the “bicycle lobby” has nowhere near the deep pockets of the other interest groups trying to bend Obama’s ear on transportation policy.
Check out the full story on BicycleRetailer.com.