DeFazio, Buttigieg tout electric cars, bikes, and warn of ‘existential threat’ of climate change at Eugene event

US DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaking in Eugene yesterday.

These are wild times for climate change in America. We have floods and droughts and fires and heat waves — scary, deadly, catastrophic events — unfolding in front of our eyes as policymakers scramble to satisfy an anxious public and activists increase the volume of their pleas.

Yesterday in Eugene, the Biden Administration’s top transportation leader, US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared at a press conference with U.S. Congressmen and Chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio. They and other officials spent the day viewing safety challenges on Highway 99 in Corvallis and driving an all-electric bus. The high-profile visit was part of a tour to tout Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.

As the climate issue heats up, so too are calls to use transportation policy as a way to address it.

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Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio is very skeptical of congestion pricing

ODOT Assistant Director Travis Brouwer (left) and U.S. House Rep. Peter DeFazio at the hearing yesterday.
(Photos: C-SPAN)

It’s not easy to make an Oregon Department of Transportation official sound like a progressive on any transportation issue; but that’s exactly what U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio did at a House Transportation Committee hearing in Washington D.C. yesterday where the veteran lawmaker’s skepticism around congestion pricing was on full display.

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DeFazio leads trio requesting GAO investigation into bike/walk safety

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Rep. DeFazio in September 2010.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio — who likes to mention in speeches that he’s the only member of Congress who has ever worked as a bicycle mechanic — is taking his fight for safer bicycling to the United States Government Accountability Office.

Citing a “troubling increase in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in recent years,” Rep. DeFazio has joined with fellow House Democrats Rick Larsen from Washington state and Eleanor Holmes Norton from the District of Columbia to request a GAO investigation into the issue.

In a statement released today, the trio said they want the GAO to investigate, “trends and causes of accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles and to make recommendations about improving safety.”

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Blumenauer, DeFazio team with GOP on Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act

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L to R: Earl Blumenauer (D), Mike McCaul (R), Peter DeFazio (D), Howard Coble (R).
(Images: Blumenauer by J. Maus/BikePortland. All others via Facebook)

On a day when we learned U.S. traffic fatalities in 2012 went up for the first time since 2005 — with notable spikes in bicycling and walking deaths — Oregon Congressmen Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio joined with two of their Republican colleagues, Howard Coble (NC) and Mike McCaul (TX) to introduce the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act (H.R. 3494).

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DeFazio latest to put foot down on current CRC proposal

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Peter DeFazio, in his office on
Capitol Hill back in March.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Tribune reports that U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio has spoken out against current plans for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project.

Echoing a popular sentiment around the project these days, DeFazio — who chairs the all-important House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — told the Tribune that “What has been designed so far is sort of the optimal project, and we can’t afford that.”

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Oberstar and DeFazio rock Cycle Oregon

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DeFazio and Oberstar seemed
more like running-mates
than Congressional colleagues.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Last night’s ride report was cut short and I didn’t get a chance to share more thoughts and photos of Congressman Oberstar and Representative DeFazio from last night.

The two members of Congress joined Cycle Oregon for a grueling climb yesterday and then spoke on the Main Stage after dinner.

DeFazio spoke of his admiration for Oberstar and told us about opportunities for bicycles in the Federal Transportation Bill despite, “being saddled with Bush.”

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