Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why is transportation funding still in question?

Warning:  I am about to go on a political rant.  If policy discussions make you feel faint or contribute to digestive problems do not read any further.  If, on the other hand, you ever wonder what you can do to affect positive change, give me five minutes of your time.  Maybe there is something you can do to further the cause of transportation cycling.
In a weak economy (oh, yes, I've heard that thing are getting better but so far I'm only convinced that true if you are Mitt Romney), when millions are unemployed or underemployed and gas remains and will likely to remain expensive, and many people just can't afford to own a car or to replace the failing car sitting in their garage, why are we (and by that I mean Congress!) still debating whether or not to fund pedestrian and bike infrastructure?  I am referring to the bike lanes, bike paths, bike corrals and sidewalks that would make it easier for more citizens, with or without cars, to opt for transportation choices less expensive and usually more enjoyable than dependence the automobile.  Well, I guess a significant portion of those elected gangsters (take that anyway you want to because that is the current level of regard I hold them in) are members of the 1%  with income above and beyond their generous Congressional salary and benefits.

Target does its part by placing abundant corrals on their front porch, along with a bench where my husband sat while waiting for me to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy.

So yesterday, I sent an email to my Congressional "representative" Paul Gosar letting him know that I support continuing funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure and why.  Since I grew up in a Republican household, I am well-versed in conservative values and stressed that maintaining and expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure facilitates the ability of citizens to exercise more personal responsibility for getting to and from work as well as their day-to-day finances.   I explained that I use my bike to get to work and that reducing my car use was a form of belt tightening required because we live in an expensive community.  I doubt that my email will make much of an impression.  The Congressional district lines have been redrawn and Mr. Gosar does not feel he can win so will run in another district - one that he does not currently live in, by the way.  Anyhoo, I exercised my civic duty and sent in my opinion and request that as a member of the Transportation Committee he vote in support of continuing the funding.  I hope that you, readers, will do the same.  Despite the Supreme Court's deplorable Citizen's United Decision last year, equating money with speech, a $1,000,000 dollars does not equal even a single vote.  All of us can and should tell our elected representatives where we stand on the issues, even if we know our opinion won't sway their vote.  Our collective opinions might just make a dent, however.  We can back up our ignored voices with votes. 

Not just for recreation, bike carry some people to work and many accommodate professional dress.
I am not a single-issue voter and would never suggest that anyone base their vote on election day on bike and pedestrian infrastructure funding alone.  What I am suggesting is that we all have to make an effort to familiarize ourselves with the issues. give our electeds our opinions when we feel we can properly articulate them and then go out and vote according the sum total of good that we feel the candidates support.

9 comments:

EcoCatLady said...

At the risk of sounding snarky, there is a simple answer to the question: Why is transportation funding still in question?

It's because we, the people, are not the constituents to whom our congressional "representatives" report. The only opinions that seem to matter in this corrupt system are those of the corporate elite... meaning, in this case, the oil companies....

Unless the American people find some miraculous way to become "propaganda-proof" in the very near future - which, to be honest, seems significantly less likely than hell freezing over, I think our collective goose is cooked.

Sorry to be "Debbie Downer" I just don't feel very hopeful when it comes to politics these days.

anniebikes said...

Here, here! I already gave my congress person my concerns.

MentalHiker said...

I agree with you. I continue to do my part to make it easier to travel by bike and foot. Sometimes it is not easy since corporate america has more money, but take it step by step and the gangsters will get with the program.

She Rides a Bike said...

I don't think you are being a "debbie downer" EcoCatLady. I'm constantly frustrated by the willful ignorance of the typical American when it comes to domestic and foreign policy issues of the day - the ones that are constantly being reported on in every media outlet available. Often it appears to be a complete failure to exercise critical thinking skills. Frequently, it is not a lack of opinion but a refusal to even try to back up their unschooled opinion with a little data or research. A little less attention to American Idol opens up enough time to question whether or not drug testing the unemployed is a proper use of tax payer dollars.

Citizens also must take more responsibility for going out and voting. The Koch brothers get one vote each, not a vote person dollar poured into propaganda campaigns. The only times our votes don't matter is when we fail to use them.

EcoCatLady said...

Agreed on all fronts! I sent the letters to my representatives so at least they'd know a few people are paying attention!

There used to be a TV show that I would encounter from time to time when flipping channels called "Street Smarts." It was a sort of game show where they would stop people on the street and ask them very basic questions. The contestants then had to bet on whether the people on the street would know the answers or not.

It was a fairly horrifying glimpse into the psyche of the average American citizen! Most people could reel off names of "celebrities" that I wouldn't recognize if I ran into them, yet had NO idea who, or even what, the Speaker of the House was.

But I'll keep hoping that the tide will turn and people will open their eyes and start acting in their own best interest. CatMan always says that nothing will change until people start to really suffer, and perhaps the "Occupy" movement is evidence of that.

Whatever happens, the next 9 months ought to be very interesting! I only hope I can survive the election commercials which ought to be more brutal than ever this year. Sigh.

xoxoxo,
Cat

Cruiser Dolly said...

i AM NO POLITICAL IN ANY SENSE..ERGO I BELIEVE IN EQUALITY FOR EVERYBODY IN EVERYTHING IN EVERY WAY...NOT SURE WHAT PARTY THAT FALLS UNDER, BUT I HAVE RECEIVED EMAILS TO HELP IN SAVING BIKE FUNDING AND I TOO COULDNT BELIEVE IT WAS TRYING TO BE TAKEN AWAY! OUR SAFETY IS OBVIOUSLY JUST ANOTHER NUMBER TO PEOPLE AND THATS A SHAME. IN REGARDS TO THE ECONOMY GETTING BETTER....UHHHH WHEN WAS THIS? IT GETS BETTER WHEN PEOPLE STOP COMPLAINING AN GOING HUNGRY.

She Rides a Bike said...

I agree completely Dolly!

Ginger said...

I haven't been a very political person, I must admit, but in the past year I found myself riding my bike to a town council meeting to see the debate about REMOVING STRIPING that met Complete Streets guidelines. Insanity to spend my property taxes to remove stripes on a street making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists because the residents on that street want to believe it's a quiet residential street and not the throughfare it really is. Claimed the striping brought down the value of their property.

Also wrote a couple of congressmen and representatives about transportation funding. Somewhere along the line I've begun to feel like an activist just because I contact the people elected and paid to be my representatives.

I'm tired of complaining about politicians and I agree my voice might not be the loudest but I can't stay quiet. We have to look at long-term alternatives to cars or there won't be enough room on the planet for all the roads!

She Rides a Bike said...

Speaking up is very empowering. What is it they say about well-behaved women?? They're boring or something? :)