Big Fat Cats and the Transportation Bill

Is it just me, or have car companies been flooding our airwaves with car commercials as of late? Maybe I’m going out on a limb here and making a connection where there is no true correlation, but it sure seems like the auto industry has been aggressively advertising, while at the same time congress is soon voting on a bill that could cut out transportation funding to pedestrians and cyclists. According to the League of American Bicyclists, walking and cycling make up 12% of all trips yet only receive 1.5% of transportation funding. If the new bill passes, this meager amount will be cut out completely. That also includes funding for the Safe Routes to School program.

Connection? Perhaps.

Now with any data analysis sometimes there really is no correlation, just a coincidental idea. Maybe I’m reading too much into superfluous car commercials and the transportation bill.

Or am I?

When an industry wants a bill to pass, they call a lobbyist to help promote their cause. I know a little bit about how lobbyists work; they are paid by certain industry leaders to sway politicians to vote for a bill. The more influence the lobbyist has, the more that person costs. Can the car industry afford such a person? Of course!

So what’s a cyclist to do?

  • Continue riding to support your own cause.
  • The League of American Cyclists is uniting to save federal funding and asking cyclists to send a message to their representative. They’ve even created a form you can use to be heard.
  • Promote bicycling with friends and family and encourage them to ride as well.

While other countries are investing in a bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, ours seems to be waffling on the issue.

Another related article is Shift‘s post about Sizing up the Competition.

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