Sunday, February 1, 2015

If you value bicycling and walking, boycott the Koch Brothers

Koch-Funded Groups: Cut All Federal Funding for Walking, Biking, & Transit

Excerpts ~ A coalition of 50 groups, several funded by the Koch brothers, sent a letter to Congress arguing that the way to fix federal transportation funding is to cut the small portion that goes to walking, biking, and transit [PDF]. The signatories do not want Congress to even think about raising the gas tax, which has been steadily eaten away by inflation since 1993.

“This scorched-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 market and simple demographics have been telling us for years,” wrote Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists.

Eliminating federal funding for transit would devastate many American cities, where transit agency budgets would be thrown into turmoil. And while federal funding for biking and walking can make a big difference because the infrastructure is so cost efficient, killing those programs won’t affect the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. The savings wouldn’t even be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding a single interchange in Wisconsin. [Full article ...]

Below are the products we can choose to avoid, if we're to start defunding Koch Industries in whatever small way we can. Very unfortunately for bicyclists, Lycra is one of them. I am not sure what, if any alternative exists for this fabric, which also includes Spandex and Coolmax.


Bicycling, walking and transit are the perfect match for everything that conservatives say they hold dear. Therefore, this attack (among others and others) appears more out of resentment for a certain lifestyle/political ideology than actual conservative or libertarian values. Below is just a sampling, brought to you by Sami Grover:

Biking is about freedom of choice
Free marketeers can talk about freedom of choice all they like, but if everything is built around dependence on the motorcar, that freedom is an illusion. I may choose to bike with my kids in a not particularly bike-friendly town, but there are a myriad of obstacles put in my way - and those obstacles can be life threatening in many localities. Providing well-designed bike infrastructure ought to be a prerequisite for true freedom of choice when it comes to transportation.

Biking promotes self-reliance
From teaching kids that hard work pays off, to enabling people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds to move about safely and efficiently, besides walking, bicycles are the most self-reliant form of transportation I can imagine. Heck, they are even easily maintained and repaired at home, meaning they encourage new skills and taking responsibility for yourself.

Bikes improve public health
Don't like Obamacare? One of the best ways to avoid over-reliance on public (or private) healthcare is simply to keep people healthy. And if you remove the barriers to human-powered transportation, you see more and more people voluntarily incorporating healthy exercise into their daily lives. Coincidentally, as more people bike, the streets get safer too - meaning fewer accidents, and fewer people suffering the consequences of other peoples' bad decisions. If that's not consistent with true libertarianism, I don't know what is.

Bikes can advance small government
Despite the silly Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists, even a cursory understanding of bikes and bike culture would suggest biking reduces the opportunities for government to intervene in our lives. Just watch bike traffic in Amsterdam: there's no helmet mandates, there are relatively few traffic signals or controls, and - to be honest - cyclists don't exactly follow all the rules. [Full article ...]

You can also sign this on-line pledge not to buy (or try not to buy) Koch Brothers products, brought to you by Daily Kos.

The Koch Brother's vision for America. Is it yours?

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