Congressional colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer at a digital town hall event last month.
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…]
President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo: Biden Harris Transition)
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…]
The bill would change U.S. law so that transit agencies can more easily fund bikeshare systems. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
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: [Read more…]
(Graphic: City of Portland, Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Yesterday evening Portland City Commissioner of Transportation Chloe Eudaly announced that the soon-to-be-built carfree bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch and I-84 will be named in honor of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.[Read more…]
“It is a big, beautiful idea, and I can’t stop smiling.” — Kasandra Griffin, executive director of the Community Cycling Center
On Sunday, December 3rd, the Community Cycling Center celebrated 22 years of the Holiday Bike Drive, a program that has provided over 10,000 bicycles to children from families living on lower incomes since 1995. The 22nd annual Holiday Bike Drive was a heartwarming delight of over 400 children finding and riding their first bicycle. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden joined in to celebrate bikes, kids, volunteerism and community..
“To many, the Holiday Bike Drive looks like the day in which over 400 children get a bike,” said Kasandra Griffin, Executive Director of the Community Cycling Center. “But for me, the Holiday Bike Drive looks like the first day of a lifelong relationship with bicycles for over 400 children. It is a big, beautiful idea, and I can’t stop smiling.” [Read more…]
There is no more staunch defender of the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit, a current federal provision that allows people to exclude (a whopping) $20 a month from taxable income for “expenses related to regular bicycle commuting.”
So when emerged that the Senate GOP’s tax plan would kill it, while retaining a $255 monthly commute benefit for parking cars, we knew Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer would have something to say about it. After all, he authored the current benefit and championed its passage in 2008. To Blumenauer, it’s a simple matter of equity. [Read more…]