by Amy Eddings
A collection of 50 groups, including the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, and the Club for Growth, [BFIA: and the lovely Grover Norquist] recently sent a letter to Congress calling for the federal government to cut what little funding goes to walking and biking transit projects, StreetsBlog USA (SB) reported.
The groups argued that, instead of raising the gas tax which has not risen to meet inflation rates over the past two decades, these programs should lose the miniscule federal funding as a means to fix the federal transportation budget. [BFIA: The letter laughably argues, “Washington continues to spend federal dollars on projects that have nothing to do with roads like bike paths and transit.”]
They claim that an increase on the gas tax would result in a “regressive tax hike” on lower-income Americans. Nevermind the fact that many struggling financially rely on walking, biking, or other means of transportation rather than spending money on gas.
President of the League of American Bicyclists said in a statement,
“This scorch-earth proposal would eliminate the ability of local transportation agencies to invest in their own transportation priorities and lock us all into a 1950’s-style highway-and-car-only mentality that flies in the face of common sense – not to mention economics and what the free marking and simple demographics have been telling us for years.”
As SB pointed out, federal funding for biking and walking projects actually are incredibly cost efficient, and eliminating them won’t fix the transportation budget. In fact, the savings “wouldn’t even be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding a single interchange in Wisconsin.”
While these GOP-backed groups claim that eliminating these types of projects is actually a move that would save the American taxpayer money, this move is nothing more than a way to make the country that much more dependent on fossil fuels. The Koch brothers are willing to take away the only means of transportation that some of America’s poorest have in efforts to increase their profits.