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Senate amendment would strip bike funding from stimulus bill; Blumenauer responds

Posted by on February 6th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Senator Jim DeMint

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced an amendment last night that would prohibit funding of “bicycle routes” and paths from the economic stimulus package that’s working its way through Capitol Hill right now.

According to staffers in Representative Earl Blumenauer’s office who are following the bill closely, Sen. DeMint’s amendment was supported in a speech by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)

DeMint is chair of the Senate Steering Committee. On Tuesday, he told

“When people see bike trails and hiking trails and golf courses, they know this is not designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It’s just basically special-interest pork barrel spending.”

Here is the amendment:

And the text reads:

Prohibition on use of funds for trails and off-road vehicle routes. None of the funds made available under this Act shall be used for bicycle, walking, or wildnerness trails, or off-road vehicle routes.

And Blumenauer, like he has done many times in the past, has issued a response (emphasis mine):

“Republican amendments and assertions that the creation of hike and bike trails in the recovery plan will not create jobs or stimulate the economy shows us just short-sighted and out of touch they are.

Investment in bike paths will not only improve our economy, and take our country in the right direction for our future; it is precisely the kind of investment the American people want. American families have indicated time and again in the passage of bond measures across the country that they favor spending on alternative transportation, such as bicycles and mass transit, over spending on more highway capacity.

Americans want a real solution to the economic crisis, not just a band-aid fix. These investments will stimulate the economy in the present and point our nation toward the economic and environmental realities of the future.”

We’ll keep you posted on the status of this amendment.

UPDATE: The League of American Bicyclists has addressed the DeMint statement and amendment in their “Trash Talk” section.

UPDATE 2/9: According to Blumenauer’s office, this amendment did not make it into the final bill. Blumenuaer staffer Tyler Frisbee wrote to me this morning: “Expect to see more bills/language like this, which means that the bike community is going to have to work to make their voice heard and protect their interests.”

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  • bikieboy February 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    way to go, Earl – I feel your exhaustion at having to continually respond to these ideologically bankrupt pinheads.

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  • Hollie February 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t know anything about him, but I feel I can say unequivocally that I hate that guy.

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  • old&slow February 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    DeMINT is an idiot but totally represents the present day republican party. The people who drove us into the ditch now seem to have all the answers on what we should be doing. They aren’t only anti-bike, they are just anti-anything which might get us out of this mess. OBAMA needs to quit with the bipartisanship,, tell these guys to shove it and do what needs to be done.

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  • Hollie February 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Seriously, reading that amendment makes me so angry that the torrent of pissed off rebuttal is getting caught in my throat due to its sheer volume.

    I need to go outside and walk around to calm down.

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  • Zaphod February 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    While not in the text of the amendment, his quote lumping “Golf Courses” with bicycle routes is a disingenuous way to paint something purely recreational (and by implication optional) with something very functional and valuable with the same brush. This deliberate and calculated misrepresentation is straight out of the Rove handbook.

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  • BenjaminV February 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    So pitiful. It’s as if Republicans are socially 20 years behind the curve. Their sights are so narrow, so traditional, and so….LAME!

    I really think places like Portland need to speak up, and show the rest of the country how transportation planning can work, can be a role model for the nation, and the world.

    Earl will have a tough time not conceding to these Rush Limbaugh-indebted morons who are using Politicking at a time of national crisis.

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  • […] Bike Portland has the scoop on Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) amendment to prohibit funding for “bicycle routes” in the stimulus bill: “When people see bike trails and hiking trails and golf courses, they know this is not designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It’s just basically special-interest pork barrel spending.” […]

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Hold on!

    Its not just republicans. Our Senator Claire McCaskill a democrat who has Obama’s ear has also came out against bike/ped projects in the stimulus bill. You can read about it here if you like……..

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Well obviously, the creation of bike, walking and recreational trails *can* create jobs. If it takes work to do it, and someone will accept money to do the work, then bingo, job created.

    However, I’m guessing that, because they lumped bike trails in with golf courses and wilderness trails, they’re also making the assumption that bike trails have no use in the context of transportation infrastructure.

    In response to that assumption, I’d love to show Senator DeMint an average morning on the Eastside Esplanade, or the Hawthorne bridge, with the throngs of commuters purposely pedaling to their jobs downtown and elsewhere.

    But I doubt that would do much good either, because I doubt his position is the result of a sincere incomprehension of how practical cycling is as a means of transportation. Rather, I’m guessing this is just political gamesmanship, and he’s setting himself up as a champion to his constituants, indulging their cartoonish image of cyclists-as-bad-guys: treehugging liberal elitist blah-dee blah-dee blah. Because there’s nothing like a good bad guy to galvenize political support.

    The upside of this kind of idiocy is that it just as effectively galvenizes *his* opponents.

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  • Pete February 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    …yet on his website he accuses Democrats of “discriminating against students of faith” by voting against use of public education funds for buildings designated as religious meeting places. Pork is as pork does.

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  • K'Tesh February 6, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Why is it that the GOP is the ones that always seem to be Jackasses?

    I’ve joined the facebook group:

    I bet I can find 1 million families who want big beautiful bike paths.

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Of course I wrote all that before reading robert’s post where McCaskill is doing the same thing. Dang, that’s irritating. All the more so because I think I might have given money to her campaign via the DailyKos donation tool during the election.

    I wasn’t able to find much more on her position on the matter, so if anyone can provide links that would be great.

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  • […] Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced an amendment last night that would prohibit funding of […]

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    There are many democrats who feel the same way.

    You dont even hear the President talking about bicycling, do you?

    They are politicians first and no matter how passionate we are on the subject it takes some real courage to say, “we are going to start to invest in bicycle facilities at the expense of an ever increasing automobile budget.” That would be political suicide and 99% of americans would think you were crazy.

    This is one of the thing that bothers me about Blumenauer. He is *very* political. At the national bike summit last year all he did was rip republicans for 15 minutes during his speech. It would be nice to have some objectivity on both sides.

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  • Mark C February 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    McCaskill is basically a DINO (Democrat In Name Only), as that’s the only reason Missouri elected a Democrat. Face it, outside of Portland and a few other cities, it’s all about the single-occupancy vehicle in the good old US of A. One of these days maybe I’ll just throw in the towel and move to Europe.

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  • Steve Brown February 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Here is the deal. Send the whack job an e-mail telling him you will contribute to whoever runs against him. Urge riders in other states to do the same. Then do it.

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  • Anonymous February 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    The entire bill is too much pork in too many places.

    Government job creation is a joke. Roosevelt didn’t end the depression with job creation, WWII did.

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Claire is definitely a liberal by all the classic definitions.

    Gun control
    socialized medicine

    etc. etc.

    I realize that this might be the first that some of you have considered that many, many democrats are not exactly bicycle advocates but come on……

    There are also many republicans who totally get it. Senator Bond was one of the reasons why Columbia missouri received 22 million dollars for their bicycle network in 2005. He has also said, “no biking/walking” in this stimulus bill but my point is the same.
    Active transportation is not a one party issue.

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  • JohnO February 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    There’s got to be a political action going against this somewhere? (League of American Cyclists?)

    Any chance someone could dredge up that link so we can voice our dissent to the clueless lawmakers directly?

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I think much of getting things done in politics comes down to what FDR once said activists in his own party: “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

    It applies to your political opponents as well as your allies.

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  • JohnO February 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I just e-mailed DeMint and Coburn, saying funding bike paths

    … creates jobs. It makes communities more livable by encouraging families to use them. It fights obesity, a US public health epidemic. It encourages bike commuting, which also reduces obesity, as well as air pollution, traffic, and dependence on foreign oil.

    THIS IS NOT PORK!! It’s better urban planning.

    Vote for it.

    I’m still pissed, but at least I’ve done something.

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  • Kevin H February 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I thought that I’d share the email I just sent Senator DeMint. I plan on sending a similar one to Senator McCaskill.

    Senator DeMint,

    I was just alerted to the language of the amendment to the stimulus package that you introduced yesterday evening. I agree that the stimulus package contains spending that is not in the interest of either stimulating the economy or providing jobs. However, I am deeply worried about your apparent stance that bicycling is a recreational activity.

    I have been commuting by bicycle for almost 15 years. My bicycling is not recreation. My bicycling is my livelihood. Without bicycle lanes and paths, I would not be able to safely get to work each day. My taxes pay for car roads, please let them pay for bike roads.

    Your bill is deeply flawed in that it doesn’t recognize the number of people who walk and ride their bicycles to work each and every day. I agree that stimulus funds should not be used for recreational trails and off-road trails. However, without that distinction, you are harming hard working Americans who depend on the walking and bicycling to contribute to making it through these tough times.

    Please reconsider the language you are using for this amendment.

    Thank you,
    Kevin Hedahl
    Concerned veteran and citizen

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  • BenjaminV February 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I think that some history reviewing is okay, but we also need to realize that new approaches need to be taken, and forward-thinking policies put into place. This is an EXCITING time to be a politician, as there is potential to enact smart new laws and build 21st century infrastructure.

    Job creation needs to be coupled with a vision for how we use our resources in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 years. Chances are, renewables will be the NORM, so why don’t we get a huge start on it today? Al Gore’s ambitious 100% plan is not pie-in-the-sky. It is the kind of collective will project that would create millions of jobs, and again make the USA the most envied country on earth.

    I know that the stimulus will get watered down, but it’s so tantalizing to imagine exciting, ambitious and ethically brilliant public works projects.

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  • thefuture February 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    too bad these decisions are not being made this summer when gasoline prices shoot higher than last year. our bikes would not look so much like toys to jim and his buddies.

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  • […] E-Mail → Coburn’s E-mail → More @ Streetsblog → More @ BikePortland […]

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  • Bjorn February 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Link to Michael Ronkin’s letter on Portland Transport about why sidewalks make more sense than roads as a stimulus measure:

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  • roger February 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    @24 Bingo!

    Thanks you Blumenauer!

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  • mmann February 6, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I just emailed both Senators as well.

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  • old&slow February 6, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Hey anonymous #17, did Limbaugh tell you that it was wwII that ended the depression? What the hell was wwII except one big mass government spending? Republicans always say that any spending here in this country is pork while we build schools and soccer fields in Iraq! What tax cut every built a road or bike path or any public infrastructure? If the republican tax cuts work so well, why are we in this near depression? DeMINT voted for the ‘BRIDGE TO NOWHERE” and now complains that bicycling infrastructure is wasteful spending.

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  • Matthew Denton February 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Keep in mind that a “tax cut” is really a loan against future taxes, (we have to pay off the national debt sometime.) Could you get a $500 loan by yourself? 60-75% of the population could. Do you want to go further into debt? Nope, that is why they haven’t done it already. So why should the government to do it for us? I have no idea.

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  • bahueh February 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    to those of you writing these senators…I know you feel as though it may help, but it won’t…

    why? you’re not part of their constituency…you don’t live in their states….they don’t care because there is no way you can vote them out of office. their job is not to answer to people outside of the state they represent..

    email Blumenauer and whatever bike based PAC you can think of and demand they get after it…

    #17…if you believe government does not create jobs, you’re extremely misinformed. government (fed, state, and local)funded positions actually represent %16+ of all salaried positions in this country. you do the math…if you’re able.

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I say email them. They dont read them anyway so they will not know where you live. Its only sheer numbers that will shock them into thinking twice about it.

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  • Bike Providence » What is He Thinking? February 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    […] They crew over at Greater City: Providence pointed me towards an article at […]

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  • DE February 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Ditto 31

    I used to work in a congressional office. All the emails & letters you send to out of state senators will be immediately forwarded to your representative/senator by a college intern before any paid staffer even sees it. This is almost always true, even if you wrote them thanking them for their leadership on an issue.

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  • shawn. February 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    “When people see bike trails and hiking trails and golf courses, they know this is not designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs.”

    Jeez, this guy’s not going to get any votes from Myrtle Beach area residents with all his anti golf course rhetoric.

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  • Anonymous February 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Wow. Earl can take action when a bike lane budget is cut, but when an illegal war sucks one trillion dollars he spent years saying it was not strategic to investigate Bush and Cheney.

    We are in this economic crisis because Earl was a security guard who looked the other way. It should have been checks and balances, but it became lobbyist checks and allowances. All talk, no action.

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  • young&fast February 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Its just plain stupid to frame this issue as Dems vs. Reps, in addition to being boring as hell.

    Also we could all benefit from a reduction in name calling, ie. reading pollution?

    One way to proceed is to be realistic and focused.
    1) DeMint is from SC.
    2) What connection does cycling have with SC?
    3) Bingo! USA Cycling Championships in Greenville, SC
    4) Who else is from SC and connected to SC?
    5) Bingo! Hincapie
    6) Maybe Blumenauer could team up with Greenville officials and Hincapie and articulate what cyclings means now and in the future to help educate DeMint.

    Tiresome name calling is a big turn off. Lets articulate economic facts and get on with making bikes a more useful means of everyday transportation.

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  • Paul Tay February 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    NO problem. America ALREADY has the world’s most ADVANCED bike route system. All we have to do is USE and ABUSE it. The DeMint initiative is legal JUSTIFICATION for Critical Mass.

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  • Joe Rowe February 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Wow. Earl can suddenly act to save a bike lane budget!

    I wonder why we are in such an economic crisis?


    Earl took no effective action in his job as a security guard in our systems of checks and balances. The result is we 1 trillion stolen for an illegal war.

    For years Earl said it was not strategic to investigate an illegal president. No wonder we are bankrupt of money, citizenship and leadership. If all the bike lovers and anti-war democratic voters had called their congress people and demanded impeachment we would not be in this emergency.

    How many bike portland readers lifted a finger to demand the constitution be upheld by reigning in an illegal president?

    Yea, it’s ugly for me to blame my fellow bikers, but these reader comments show me that none of you can connect the dots any better than Earl.

    If anyone can argue that my lack of action caused the war to drag on and bankrupt our country, please, bring it on.

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  • Paul Tay February 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    “How many bike portland readers lifted a finger to demand the constitution be upheld by reigning in an illegal president?”

    I did. But, did I “reign” or “rein?”

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  • thefuture February 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    often i take a ride when such an event or story gets to me such as this one. and while on said ride a sort of sobering revelation overcame me. what if jim just sincerely doesn’t get it? i mean he may just not know? jim come to portland. bring your friends. let us show you the way.

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm


    I’ll stay cynical about Sen. DeMint for the time being, but I appreciate your optimism. 🙂

    I do think that the sight of the morning bike commute over the Hawthorne would be a revelation to the great many in the nation who think of bikes as toys.

    It would be a good subject for a video.

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  • old&slow February 6, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    A news update. The stimulus bill has been agreed on in the senate. I don’t know if money was left in for bicycle infrastructure or not but I doubt it since 100 billion was taken out for the republicans to compromise on (and only 2 or 3 are going to vote for it). Taken out was pork barrel spending like construction for schools! Nice job repubs, hopefully there will be less of you around in future years!

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  • Donna February 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    The entire bill is too much pork in too many places.

    Government job creation is a joke. Roosevelt didn’t end the depression with job creation, WWII did.

    Amen, Anonymous – I am 100% in agreement with you on this subject. I am dead set against this bill in any form. I’d be thrilled to see the thing be voted down, though I know that will never happen. There’s way too much pork in it and way too many congresscritters on both sides of the aisle who are far more interested in getting reelected than in doing what’s responsible.

    That said, I certainly do not want to see DeMint get his way on this. I firmly believe that in the coming years we will see more people out there biking for practical transportation purposes. Even if gasoline gets cheap in a deflationary spiral, it’s still pretty dang expensive to own and operate a motor vehicle. I think more American families will realize that reducing their household car ownership to 1 vehicle – or even 0 – will make a huge impact on their financial bottom line. For some, it could very well be the difference between getting by and not. At the very least, owning multiple cars requires throwing a healthy chunk of change down a black hole with no bottom. (Kind of like the bank bailouts, really.)

    Now, if there were only a way to ensure that the bozos in some parts of the country would actually use it to create practical bike facilities for necessary transportation. Bike paths and facilities which are designed to primarily serve a recreational function would indeed be a shameful waste of money in our present circumstances.

    Then again, most of this stimulus bill is a shameful waste of money in our present circumstances…

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 7:26 pm


    I agree with you. This country is headed to bankruptcy and its because people think the government can create jobs by borrowing money.

    Its asinine.

    That said, its GOING to happen so it might as well be far less highway projects and more things that can insulate us from the coming energy crisis.

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  • Coyote February 6, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Earl’s statement is disappointing. What possible good can a statement like that do? Does he think DeMint is going to hear that and reconsider his position?

    Perhaps if he did not preface his comment with a pointless partisan attack, more people would listen.

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 7:33 pm


    Exactly why I am wondering why Earl is headlining the Bike Summit again this year in D.C.

    I heard “republicans are stupid” in about 200 different ways but heard nothing about how we can help bicycling in the United States.

    Earl, if by some miracle you are reading this PLEASE stop the partisan bullcrap. No one wants to hear it and you are certainly NOT winning over republicans like that.

    Its like trying to get a date to the prom by saying, “you are probably to stupid and slutty to want to go with me but………”

    You have just sealed your fate.

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  • old&slow February 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Donna, “government spending doesn’t create jobs?
    Gee, I work at an engineering firm that employs 100 people in pretty well paying jobs that does work on roads and bridges. Who do you think is paying for infrastructure, the private sector? Big business? Who is paying for bike paths, the new sellwood bridge, etc.? Who builds schools? John McCAINS heiress wife?
    I wouldn’t want to live in a country run by people who think like you do.

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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Old and slow,

    I think they mean that borrowing money does not create sustainable jobs.

    What this economy needs is a slow and painful correction. People were spending WAY more than they made and it caught up with all of us. Sure the economy was cooking there for a while with people taking out 6 year car loans and maxing out the credit cards but that was not sustainable and now its going to take a while to get back to reality.

    Imagine if everyone started bicycle commuting and getting all of that exercise. Doctors would be standing in bread lines and 90% of car dealers would be out of business. Would it temporarily hurt? Yes. Is it a reason to overreact and put the country into bankruptcy based upon fear mongering? No.

    After this money is up all of those “new jobs” in construction are going to be over unless we borrow even more money (if anyone will let us) and do it all over again.

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  • Donna February 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Are you quoting me, old&slow? It seems like you think you are, though I apologize if I am mistaken. I’m not sure where I said that in post #44 – the only post I’ve made up until this point.

    That said, have you ever heard of someone spending their way out of a problem that was exacerbated by prior overspending? I’ve known people who’ve tried, but the only place it ever got them was bankruptcy court. It’s not pretty when a nation has to default on their debts.

    Call me heartless, but I cannot support job creation that will contribute to the eventual insolvency of our federal government and the collapse of our currency. Even more when you consider the U.S. Dollar is the world’s reserve currency and most other currencies would have to fail before ours finally does. It seems to me far more people would be suffering a whole lot more in a country with a collapsed economy and currency – not to mention the rest of the world. I sincerely hope your engineering firm is able to conduct business as usual in such a situation, though I fear most businesses won’t be able to do that.

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  • Mark Allyn February 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Here are some representatives of bicycle clubs in Senator Demint’s state: Aiken Bike Club Carolina Cyclers Coastal Cyclists Rock Hill Bicycle Club

    These are his own constituents and they should be addressing him!


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  • robert February 6, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    If any of you have the means/time and really want to do something great for bicycling I would try to make the national bike summit. The LAB will set up meetings between you and your legislatures and last year I got to talk to both of my Senators and 3 representative.

    Its really worth while and if you are rational, non partisan and passionate they listen.

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  • matt picio February 6, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Donna (#49) – you said it right at the beginning. You quoted directly from post #17, and followed it immediately with the statement that you were in agreement with it 100%. I assume from your subsequent post that what you meant to say was that you were in agreement that the bill was pork.

    I believe the US government (and the nation itself) is already insolvent, though it will take another 2-10 years for that to become apparent – there are so many financial “products” out there that are virtual representations of derivatives of “real” dollars (which themselves are no longer based on gold nor any other object of actual value) that it will take a while for everyone to really figure out what the actual value of work is.

    At some point, we have to go back to the true value of an economy, which is what people possess that others want, and what people can do in the form of services. The value of all the real, substantial goods and services in the US is far less than the arbitrary value we’ve assigned to them in the form of money.

    Government doesn’t create jobs by borrowing money, it creates money by borrowing jobs. During the Depression, government put people to work and guaranteed they’d be compensated for it. The projects that government chose for the most part were things with REAL benefit, like Hoover Dam. While government is inefficient, so is industry – how do you explain fuzzy dice, pet rocks, perfume, fast food, or RVs? None of those are necessary – they exist solely because people have extra money to waste. In a poor economy, all that extraneous stuff goes away.

    It all comes back to personal responsibility, self-control, and common sense (an oxymoron, really). We have a culture of greed, laziness, ignorance and apathy, which we’ve reinforced at every turn in every medium. Until people choose to turn from that culture individually and en masse, these problems will continue to occur.

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  • Adam February 7, 2009 at 12:06 am

    I don’t see where anyone is suggesting not funding “bicycle routes”, only various trails and “off-road vehicle routes”, witch I take to mean recreational facilities.

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  • John Lascurettes February 7, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Full article of Blumenauer’s response (Go Earl!):

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  • Erik Sandblom February 7, 2009 at 12:46 am

    These attacks on bicycling are really quite entertaining. How long till anything not car-related is branded “axis of evil”?

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  • robert February 7, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Once again,

    Earl hurts bicycling by being so partisan.

    Here is his basic request of republicans,

    “you are a really dumb idiot who has made nothing but wrong decisions since Lincoln but if you can get this through your pea sized brain………”

    Not going to work. If any republicans were going to get on board with Earl they will not now.

    Earl = hurts bicycling

    Earl if you by chance read this do not be so partisan at the bike summit. I’ve already pointed out one liberal who is anti-bike and there are several others. I have heard no one but earl, not even obama, talking bikes in this bill.

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  • […] DeMint followed up his trash talking of bicycles by offering his own legislative amendment, SA 461, on February […]

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  • Curt Dewees February 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

    DeMint is DeFunct.

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  • John Reinhold February 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I hope people realize how little money will actually come to Oregon and the Portland area for “transportation” in this stimulus plan.

    Out of 800 or 900 billion stimulus, Transportation in Oregon gets about 350 million. Out of that 250 million goes straight to ODOT and the rest is divied up amongst jurisdictions. Metro gets about 30 million.

    This is all spread out over three years.

    Given historical trends for Oregon we are probably looking at 3 million total to be spent on bike/ped infrastructure – and we spend higher than most places in the US.

    Additionally, many of the highway projects usually include bike lanes or sidewalks, but are not specifically bike/ped projects.

    But here is one thing to consider. Even if not a lot of money from the stimulus package gets to bike/ped – we can use some stimulus money to clear backlogs of road projects and possibly free up other funding for bike projects.

    The big thing is to let your elected representatives at all levels of government know what you want. Not just the Feds. Let state, county, metro, and local officials know what you want too.

    Every time someone on one side calls the otherwise a name – it only entrenches the other side. I learned that in elementary school.

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  • Andrew Holtz February 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I just sent the following letter to the editor of The State newspaper in Columbia, SC:

    To the editor:

    Why does Sen. Jim DeMint want to needlessly endanger our children by preventing local communities from using stimulus package money to provide safe bike and walking routes to neighborhood schools?

    If his amendment (HR 1, Amendment 461) is approved, federal funds will be used to help cars and trucks go faster, but children will be left to fend for themselves as they ride or walk on dangerous streets.

    I may not be one of his constituents, but I just can’t understand why Sen. DeMint wants to block our tax money from being used to help safeguard our children, including the children of South Carolina families.
    The newspaper editor e-mail is:

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  • Opus the Poet February 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    DeMint was also on record as being against limiting CEO compensation for firms that accepted bailout money to $500k/yr. He’s totally out of touch with anything except fat cats.

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  • ihatebikes February 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I find it interesting that the smallest number of overall commuters ride bicycles and think that all the funding should go to them. How would having a few birkenstock wearing granola heads volunteer to spread bark dust on some trails in forest park stimulate the economy? Perhaps spending money on bike trails is a good idea but not in this stimulus package.

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  • Hart February 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Golf courses disgust me. How on earth could this complete moron compare something as awful as a golf course with bike paths?

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  • Chandler February 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    You have to remember that Mr De<int comes from a state that posts the “share the road” sign at the end of the paved shoulder and the beginning of a nice grass shoulder …. until you reach a bridge.

    But if you have a chance stop by Beufort and enjoy their twilight criterium directly after the Tour of Georgia.

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  • old&slow February 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    To ‘ihatebikes”, you are entitled to your opinion but maybe you need to go back to calling your favorite right wing radio talk show hosts and leaving the rest of us alone. To “robert,” there is a reason ‘Earl” is partisan, that is because conservatives try to block any progressive ideas, including bicycle funding, because they are so busy trying to turn back the clock to the good old “reagan” years, they oppose any spending unless it is in Iraq!

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  • Gil Johnson February 7, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    The sad thing is that improvements to bicycling infrastructure provides the highest return on investment of any money spent on transportation.

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  • Hart February 7, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Yeah, and republicans totally care about positive investments in a sustainable future.

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  • Chandler February 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Eric 56
    Would it be correct to say that Mr DeMento is for axles of evil rather than progress for purpose?

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  • Hart February 8, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Dangit, I was trying to think of a clever dig on his last name and I couldn’t come up with anything.

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  • Maculsay February 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I agree with John #60 100%. The rest of you, meet me at the bike racks after school and we’ll settle this.

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  • Dixon February 8, 2009 at 9:50 am


    Maybe I am optimistic, but the proposal as I read it says, “…trails…” Are bike lanes, boxes, and traffic control devices considered trails.? I would consider them traffic projects. Okay, so maybe the Springwater Bike Path needs to be re-designated the Springwater Non-Motorized Vehicular Corridor to receive funding. Fine by me.

    It’s all in how the game is played. I do not appreciate DeMint and his thoughts and have emailed him to tell him so, but I see a way around this obstacle.

    Am I being to naive?


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  • joe adamski February 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

    A Senator can put a hold on a bill, and nobody can DO anything about it. His leadership might apply pressure,or he may use his lifting the hold as a bargaining chip, lots of possibilities. But a Rep from the House, ie: Blumenaur, can do nothing about it. Perhaps Wyden, or Merkley,if they felt the need, could put another block on the bill, just for shits and blocking any money from the bill to be directed to faith based groups( you remove YOUR hold, and I will pull MINE)… Wouldnt THAT start a firestorm!

    Truth said, unless DeMint removes his hold, or he misses a session and the leadership pulls the hold,( Remember what happened to Wyden,not much can be done.
    The court of public opinion, however is another story. I would suggest writing, emailing, every newspaper, blog, whatever in South Carolina and let them know what a shortsighted..jewel.. they have representing them.

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  • atbman February 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Hart, surely you realise the man is DeMinted

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  • todd February 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    you know, as long as most bike shops sell car racks, and most bikes are stripped-down enough to be easy to lift into said racks, as long as most bikes call for special clothing, and where racks and lights and fenders are (often incompatible) aftermarket optional accessories — as long as bikes are considered primarily sporting goods with possible secondary utility for save-the-world types, the young, the strong, and the poor — then of course it will be easy to put bike facilities in the same category with golf courses.

    i daresay if you commute on a bike designed for racing on or off road, or even for touring, then you are reinforcing the stereotype of biking as an elite leisure activity among those who can’t see themselves in lycra or day-glo or enjoying vigorous exercise.

    now, i don’t think the stereotyped have an obligation to counter such prejudices by changing their behavior. unless, of course, they’re going to whine about said prejudices. if you want people to accept biking as part of normal life for people of all ages and stations in life, worthy of infrastructural investment on par with other mobility modes, make sure it looks that way:

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  • Lee Norris February 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Here is a big problem for cycling in general. Too many people in government still think that the bicycle is a toy and not as transportation.

    This is just insane. The stumulus plan should be giving tax incentives to people that commute to work by bicycle. Do these people really want us that cycle in front of them at the gas pumps or in cars out on the road?

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  • Marshall February 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I commute daily to PSU from Beaverton and this bill seems to be another product of lobbying to me. Why on earth wouldn’t some stimulus money be used for these paths? I use the trail throught he rose gardens and over sylvan everyday, as it’s the safest, cleanest and most bicycle friendly route from downtown to SW. I can honestly say I don’t think I would be commuting by bike (I’d ride the MAX) if it wasn’t there. Trails like this encourgage people to ride instead of drive, reducing spending on foreign oil, reducing public spending on roadways, and reducing health care costs (people who exercise are healthier, are less likely to be obese, and have lower costs related to health care). I know I’m preahing to the choir here, but the only reason I can see for including bike/walking trails in this ammendment is the narrow-mindset of some individuals that we must have automobiles for trasportation. In order to change these minds we have to offer safe, clean routes around our cities for biking/walking/skateboarding/etc.

    Please write your congressmand on this issue. If they need precedent, look no further than Timberline Lodge. Built by the W.P.A. with Federal money.

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  • robert February 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    What about fixed gear hipsters with dreadlocks who blow stop signs and red lights like they were designed by the devil himself.

    I often wonder if some of those folks *really* desire bicycling for transportation to catch on or if they like being 1% of the national population.

    What if EVERYONE started showing up in parking garages at midnight to play bike polo?

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  • Joe in Arlington February 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Senator, I think you need to re-consider what goes into the ‘wealth’ of a nation not simply it’s GDP or GNP. A well travelled, and maintained bike trail provides not just safer passage than does traffic-congested streets, but a legitimate alternative means of transportation. Many people have ‘discovered’ this fact most recently when gas hit $4 a gallon.

    Once you commit yourself to biking, skating or just walking vigorously and doing it regularly and incorporating it into your life, you feel better you have more energy and you start to see that there is another way. Another and better way, not just for you but for the nation. I’ve seen studies that show (and I believe it from actual experience) that it improves your mental and psychological well-being as well, active bodies are much less prone to anxiety and depression. Your dismissive attitude of once built no more work for construction jobs is incredibly short sighted. A bike trail has an enormous rippling effect. People make housing decisions around these kinds of things. If it’s not built you have fewer options, but if it is. hundreds of thousands would have greater freedom of choice and movement to commute to work, go to the grocers, run errands, visit relatives, MEET THEIR NEIGHBORS for heaven’s sake!!

    Or, just consider that it simply provides a variety of recreational opportunities whether boarding, roller blading, biking, walking, running, cross-country skiing. Healthier and more productive citizens in every way. A decrease in oil consumption. Less pollution.

    I don’t want to minimize your objection, but I do think it’s largely ideological rather than economic. Your playing politics AGAIN in Washington while we citizens are feeling the full brunt of a rising economic crisis.

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  • Eric February 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I just emailed my favorite Senator (Boxer) asking that the proposed amendment be nullified. I tried the other Senator but her website is down for some strange reason. Maybe I should just call and leave a message…

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  • Hart February 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    What about fixed gear hipsters with dreadlocks who blow stop signs and red lights like they were designed by the devil himself.

    LOL, hipsters don’t have dreadlocks.

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  • Anonymous February 8, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Coburn is from the only state in which every county voted for McCain… Oklahoma.

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  • Jebus February 9, 2009 at 12:33 am

    People still live in OK? Wow… guess riding my bike to work every day has left me out of the loop…

    That and I don’t have TV…

    So when is the meeting to rise up and fight for Cascadia?

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  • Brad February 9, 2009 at 10:02 am

    DeMint is playing to his base. Yes he is a nearsighted fool displaying typical GOP idiocy however, he is somewhat right.

    We have a real economic meltdown going on and I tend to agree this is pork. A stimulus package should be about creating the most jobs and providing the most help for those in greatest need. While nice to have, a handful of bike projects that won’t be done for years (remember that there will be years of wrangling, right-of-way battles, public hearings, enviromental impact studies, NIMBY lawsuits, planning reviews, contractor bidding, etc.) they will not address the immediate needs of the economic mess we find ourselves in.

    I agree with most of you that long term benefits can be had as a result of better and expanded bikeways (let’s use this instead of “bikepath” – sounds more important and less recreational) but we need a quick and measurable shot in the arm that gets ALL of America working and creating GDP. Let’s get people healthcare coverage. Let’s get better education. Let’s get cleaner and more efficient power production. Let’s even get better roads, bridges, and rails to move goods to and fro. Once we get the economy stabilized then we can spend on bike needs. In my mind, these types of projects should be locally proposed and funded to begin with. The proposed “Safe, Green, whatever…” plan is a local design and rightfully so.

    After all, if we see 25% unemployment like the Great Depression, there won’t be much bike commuting or car commuting demand so what good will those new bikeways serve besides paychecks for a handful of civil engineers and pavement contractors?

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  • mabsf February 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

    But if we see 25% unemployment, do you think people will be still able to make car payments?
    If it goes that far, Huffy will be the new Hummer!

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  • Brad February 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Then the car traffic on the roads will be significantly reduced and we can take the lanes as much as we like. Safer streets without the capital outlay and government borrowing! Our children and grandchildren will thank us.

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  • katelyn February 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    He should read J. Dill’s study about bicycle usage as a mode of transportation, and how the majority of the participating riders were more likely to use the bike lanes provided::

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  • XLFD February 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I am an avid bicycle rider and I believe Senator DeMint is totally correct: a federal stimulus package is no place for these projects. These paths will almost exclusively be used within one state and should be a state issue. If you feel there is a need for bike paths in your area, rattle the cage of your local gov’t, state gov’t, and private concerns, but don’t invest my federal tax dollars into it and tell me it is stimulating the economy, just like all the other stupid crap in this package. I would love more bike paths, but not from my federal gov’t.

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  • Hart February 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Does the fact that the states are broke due to “stupid” federal policies matter at all to you?

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  • ValkRaider February 10, 2009 at 11:06 am

    but don’t invest my federal tax dollars into it and tell me it is stimulating the economy,

    How is a created job building a bike route any different than a create job creating a road?

    I don’t want my federal tax dollars stimulating the failed auto industry and it’s bad decisions for the last 4 decades.

    I want my federal tax dollars stimulating the sustainable energy industry, the education industry, the health industry, the bicycle industry and the recreation industry.

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  • XLFD February 10, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Many Federal policies do adversely affect the prudent running of a state, which is why we need to restrain the superconstitutional power grabbing they attempt to do under most administrations. Similarly, states that overlegislate tend to be the ones in the most trouble today. The point is that less governmental interference from either party is a victory for individual freedom, and as a bicyclist, I prize that. Valkraider, I don’t feel that the Feds have any business being in the road business either, and because I was viscerally repulsed by the begging of the Big Three auto companies at the Federal trough, you won’t see me buying their cars anytime soon. As for me, I don’t want the Feds to stimulate or sustain any industry because their intentions are too often political, and not po-logical. Remember, be they local, state, or federal gov’t, they work for us; we should not be working for them.

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  • jami February 11, 2009 at 2:33 am

    “OBAMA needs to quit with the bipartisanship,, tell these guys to shove it and do what needs to be done.”

    hear hear. republicans hated bipartisanship when they had control of everything. i don’t know why we should re-instate it just when we might be able to start fixing things.

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  • steve February 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Umm, Obama is not being bipartisan. He is doing what he is told. Just like Bush.

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