of biking seeps into his thinking on
federal transportation policy.
(Photos © J. Maus)
On Thursday (6/18), U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is expected to release a white paper outlining his plans for the forthcoming re-write of the federal surface transportation bill (Oberstar is Chair of the House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee).
The current bill, passed in 2006 and known as SAFETEA-LU, will expire on September 30th. Many bicycle and sustainable transportation advocates are eager for a glimpse at what’s on Oberstar’s mind. They hope he makes good on the positive signals being sent from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, that this bill will chart a new course for America’s ailing transportation system.
LaHood has been talking up “livability” and “sustainable communities” for months now. In a blog post today, he outlined six “livability principles” that will guide how the Obama administration approaches transportation.
in March, Ray LaHood
told bike advocates they’d
have “a full partner” at
the US DOT.
The #1 principle on that list? “Providing more transportation choices.” (See the list here.)
LaHood also wrote that he recently told several Senate committees that:
“We have a window of opportunity to think differently about transportation and propose bold, new approaches to improve the livability of our nation’s communities.”
Sounds exciting. But make no mistake about it, a major change to the status quo (highways) will likely take a big political fight.
National non-profit Transportation For America — who wants the bill to “establish clear goals, empower our communities, and make smart investments in public transportation, highways, rail, and biking and walking facilities,” — is ready and waiting for details on the new bill. They’ve published a scorecard they’ll use to see if it “makes the grade.”
For excellent coverage as the T-bill action heats up, bookmark the new DC edition of Streetsblog. I’ve learned a lot in recent weeks from Elana Schor’s reporting and she covers all the important livable streets-oriented details you won’t get anywhere else.
You can watch the news conference unfold live. Check http://transportation.house.gov for the live webcast on Thursday at 8:00 AM PST.