The 2012 National Bike Summit got off to an energizing start this morning with an opening session featuring high-powered members of Congress and the man Representative Earl Blumenauer called the best Transportation Secretary we’ve ever had: Ray LaHood.
No, the Secretary didn’t hop on the table like he did two years ago, but he did fire up the more than 800 attendees. In no uncertain terms, LaHood called for the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the lead of the U.S. Senate.
The bill passed by the Senate, he explained, is good for cycling. It’s good for livable, sustainable communities. It’s good in providing transportation options for all Americans. And, most immediately, it’s good for the economy.
“The transportation bill is a jobs bill; it’s that simple,” he emphasized. “We’re right on the eve of the spring construction season and… we need to put our friends and neighbors to work. The spin-offs that come from passing a transportation bill put thousands of people to work for two years.”
Later on his blog, the Secretary specifically commended the work of bicycle advocates to get that done.
“This week, nearly a thousand League members have come to Washington, DC, for the National Bike Summit,” he wrote. “The theme for this year is “Save Cycling,” and it’s an important task. This is a thrilling time for bicycling in America – there are now 57 million cyclists on the road, and we are truly building a transportation system that makes it easier, safer, and more convenient to ride your bike… At the Department of Transportation, we’re happy to support innovative policies to give more Americans the option to embrace cycling, and we’re working to end prejudices that treat riding and walking differently from other forms of transportation.
“The time has come to time to invest in a 21st century transportation network,” he continued. “This week the advocates from the National Bike Summit will be sharing a similar message with their legislators on Capitol Hill. I thank them for their effort–and for the warm welcome today–and I wish them well.”
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Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.