I hadn’t seen this covered on many other bike blogs, so I thought I’d share the following with you to get your opinions on the issue:
In a recent interview with Streetsblog Capitol Hill, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) puts forth his opinion that federally-mandated bike paths are unconstitutional. Here’s a bit of the back and forth:
STREETSBLOG: I was just in an [Environment and Public Works] Committee hearing and there was some talk about the fact that some small amount of money in the [transportation] reauthorization historically gets used for things like bike trails. Some people think that’s waste; some people think biking is a mode of transportation. What do you think?
HUNTER: I don’t think biking should fall under the federal purview of what the Transportation Committee is there for. If a state wants to do it, or local municipality, they can do whatever they want to. But no, because then you have us mandating bike paths, which you don’t want either.
STREETSBLOG: But you’re OK with mandating highways?
HUNTER: Absolutely, yeah. Because that’s in the constitution. I don’t see riding a bike the same as driving a car or flying an airplane.
STREETSBLOG: How is it different?
HUNTER: I think it’s more of a recreational thing. That’s my opinion.
Read the full interview with Rep. Hunter by clicking here.
I’ve heard the argument that it should be a state-by-state decision to develop bicycle infrastructure and shouldn’t be a federal initiative, and I can understand that line of thought…but to me, Rep. Hunter’s comments just smack of being out of touch with the needs of the American people and dangerously adhering to a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution. Also in the interview, Rep. Duncan takes a “well, people drive to work and I’m not particularly interested in finding transportation alternatives for them” view. Troubling…
Your thoughts? Let’s hear ’em.