Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 30th, 2011 at 9:33 am
riding on Portland's Eastbank Esplanade,
will make the case for bicycling
on Capitol Hill today.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Today, the CEO of Trek Bicycle Corporation (America's largest bike company), John Burke, will make the case for bicycling on Capitol Hill. Burke has been invited by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit to be a part of a hearing titled, "Improving and Reforming the Nation's Surface Transportation Programs."
Yesterday at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit I sat down with Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong to get the scoop on what exactly Mr. Burke plans to share with the men and women who will write our nation's transportation bill.
As you might expect, Burke will tout Trek's economic footprint. In addition, he'll also tell members of Congress that the U.S. bike business is worth over $6 billion a year in sales, that about 15-20 million bikes (more than cars and trucks combined) are sold in the U.S. each year and that there are more than 4,000 independent bicycle retailers nationwide (that's a lot of small businesses).
Burke will also tell the committee that federal investment on infrastructure that makes bicycling possible has a direct impact on the business bottom line and it feeds a burgeoning activity that is spreading across the country like wildfire. Not only that, but he'll educate committee members on the fact that investments in biking are cost-effective and have a significant return on investment.
And in case you were wondering, yes, Burke is likely to mention one of the most viral factoids the bike movement has ever produced — that since 1990 Portland has spent $57 million on its 400-mile (or so) bikeway network, which is roughly the cost of just one mile of an urban, four-lane freeway.
Burke will be just one of about 40 invited speakers at the committee hearing today, but Blumenthal says he'll be second to last in the lineup, which hopefully means the committee members will remember what he says. Even if they don't, his testimony will be entered into the official Congressional Record. (On that note, Burke had to sign a "Truth in Testimony Disclosure," which should add credibility to his points.)