Is Senator McCain playing politics with bike parking?

Does Senator John McCain (R-AZ) hate bicycles? Or is he just using them to make a political statement? According to the League of American Bicyclists, the recently passed jobs bill included several things that could impact bicycling (including $2 billion in rescissions from state DOTs), including a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation program which increases the Passenger Facilities Charge.

For some reason, Senator John McCain (“rather spitefully” according to the League), inserted a provision into the bill that specifically prohibits using those funds to pay for bicycle parking at airports. The League says they weren’t able to strip it out and adds, “We’re not sure what the motivation could possibly be for this action.” Me neither.

Here’s more from the AASHTO Journal:

Bicycle Funding Ban Amendment Approved

An amendment adopted by the Senate to the FAA bill would prohibit airports from using passenger facility charge revenue to build bike storage facilities.

The amendment was offered by Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, and approved by unanimous consent as part of a manager’s package.

“Most airline passengers would agree with me that they would rather see more improvements to ensure faster travel times and safer departures and arrivals,” McCain said on the Senate floor.

That provision is also likely to be debated during a conference committee with the House as several key representatives, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-MN, are major supporters of bicycling.

“This is just providing another mode of transportation option to people who travel to and from the airport,” said Oberstar spokesman Jim Berard. He noted bike parking racks at airports are especially useful given the nation’s emphasis on reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Richard Masoner
13 years ago

Admittedly, bike facilities at airports isn’t high on my priorities list, but McCain’s amendment that micromanages at the Federal level how money is spent at the project level is inane.

Kathleen McDade
13 years ago

Too many politicians (and they do tend to be conservative/Republican) are still convinced that bicycles=recreation, not transportation. See also Jim DeMint.

Steven Vance
13 years ago

That’s okay for Midway Airport, as there are 75+ bike parking spaces (sheltered, too) at the Chicago Transit Authority Orange Line station.

O’Hare actually has a couple of interior spaces at the CTA Blue Line station. And some spaces at the far away parking lot. But you have to train it in – supposedly you’re not allowed to bike on airport roads.

John Murphy
13 years ago

The most important reason to have bike parking at Airports is for employees. I guess that’s not a “passenger facility”, but this is bizarre micromanagement as Richard says. Why is this being dealt with at the Senate level.

McCain is from Arizona – perhaps he thinks those racks will be used by people who work at the Airport who don’t have a lot of money and have a little extra color in their skin.

13 years ago

somehow I don’t think the amount to be spent on bike parking will come anywhere close to the expense of pretty much anything else at an airport…