Welcoming the 14Th Annual Bike Summitby Representative Earl Blumenauer
Posted on 2013-03-05
BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, as we wait for the Congress and
administration to deal with how to do business differently for defense,
for health care, for the Tax Code, we can take a break today as we
welcome over 750 men and women from every State in the Union who are
here for the 14th Annual Bike Summit. They represent, as you might
expect, people from cycling clubs and the mountain bike industry. There
are also dedicated recreational cyclists, those who are involved with
bike tourism, which has become very big business, by the way. And
speaking of business, there are representatives of bicycle repair,
bicycle manufacturers, and others who design, manufacture, and sell
equipment and apparel. Bicycles mean business, in my hometown alone
over $150 million of economic activity in a year, employing over 1,000
As the Bike Summit attendees visit Capitol Hill later this week, we will have an opportunity to hear from people of all ages, all walks of life, communities large and small. They are firm in the belief that the Federal Government should be a stronger partner in capitalizing on the most efficient form of urban transportation ever designed.
Bicycles burn calories, not fossil fuel, and take up a 10th of the space of a car. More importantly, for those who drive, every bicycle in the protected bike lane next to you is not a car in front of you or competing for a scarce parking space.
The goal here is to give Americans more choices about how they move, making it safe for children to walk or bike to school. It helps those children, it relieves stress on the family, and can cut 30 percent of the rush-hour congestion. Bicycling helps kids stay active at a time where we are obsessing about a lack of physical activity for our children, a level that is already too low and declining. Bicycling is a natural remedy.
Cities of all size are participating in the bicycle revolution. It would not be nearly as advanced as it is, but for $8.9 billion of Federal investment since the original ISTEA reauthorization. It has accelerated programs, leveraged other investments and has increased transportation capacity for everybody, and done so more cost effectively than any other expenditure. By the way, $1 million invested in bicycle facilities creates more family-wage jobs than simply constructing more miles of highway.
It is also easier and faster to accomplish. At a time when America has an infrastructure deficit that is in the trillions of dollars, when that infrastructure is falling apart and unreliable, our coalition for policies and resources to rebuild and renew America will be stronger if it includes the millions of Americans who travel by bike.
I strongly urge my colleagues and their staff to take the time to visit with these advocates this week. Hear their stories about transforming communities of all sizes: rural, urban, suburban. Most important, learn how they are giving families safe transportation choices that they never had before. Visit with these cycling leaders. More important, at home, when you are back, get on a bike, walk a trail, join the volunteers, witness an event with your family and talk to the bike businesses and community partners. All of these stakeholders can help us visualize what the Federal partnership could mean in making communities across America more livable and our families safer, healthier, and more economically secure.