Back in November there was buzz that Portland congressman Earl Blumenauer might be named to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Joe Biden. That didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus will be on the sidelines of U.S. transportation policy.[Read more…]
After Trump won in 2016, Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer told us he was both appalled yet assured. He said the presidential election was “grim” but that wins for transit and other issues he cares about gave him hope. At the 2017 National Bike Summit just three months after Trump moved into the White House, Blumenauer said cycling might be one way for America to heal its divisions.
Fast forward to 2020 and a Democrat is headed back to the White House. I spoke with Blumenauer on the phone this morning to hear his perspective on the last four years and what might lie ahead. I’ve edited our conversation below for clarity and brevity.[Read more…]
Even without official acknowledgement by the Trump Administration, President-elect Joe Biden is already moving towards the White House. Fresh off declarations of his win finally coming on Friday, he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have begun their transition process in earnest.
In our little corner of the internet, the buzz is about who Biden will pick to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation and what transportation policy might look like in the next four years.
The buzz is especially intense in Portland because one of the names being floated as possible DOT pick is Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the former Portland city commissioner who’s represented the best cycling city in America for the past 24 years. On Saturday, Politico included Blumenauer as the most likely pick after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who most people see as the frontrunner. [Read more…]
When we interviewed U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election he said, “If four years from now the places that can make the most advantage of transportation investments don’t get that help, that’s going to be not just a missed opportunity in terms of safety and economic benefits of transportation — it’s going to be a lost political opportunity as well.”
Yesterday, just four months before that four-year deadline, Rep. Blumenauer and his colleagues in the House of Representatives (led by fellow Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio) seized that political opportunity and successfully passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act.
The bill invests $1.5 trillion in infrastructure projects and programs including $500 billion for transportation-related needs. The League of American Bicyclists has heaped praise on the legislation, saying, “This bill is transformative – it’s the first bill to approach real reform in almost 30 years… and will move the country forward in building a safer, cleaner, more equitable transportation system that better meets the needs of everyone.”
Among the highlights are several of Blumenauer’s top priorities that he’s been pushing for years including a stronger tax benefit for people who ride a bicycle to work, a policy tweak that would allow transit agencies to invest in bikeshare systems, and funding for Vision Zero plans. Blumenauer introduced a total of nine bills that were included in the Moving Forward Act and five of them are related to transportation:
The dream of a carfree bridge over Interstate 84 between the central eastside and Lloyd neighborhoods is older than some of the people who showed up for its groundbreaking this morning.[Read more…]