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Secretary LaHood takes on Senator Coburn’s “stimulus waste”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood didn’t pull any punches in a blog post yesterday about one senator’s “stimulus waste” list.

Senator Tom Coburn is a persistent critic of transportation “enhancements” and the author of a failed amendment earlier this year to strip bicycle and pedestrian projects from a spending bill. His latest waste list includes two bike paths. Coburn told the Washington Times, “When we run $1.4 trillion deficits, the money we spend ought to be a high priority for the American people as a whole.” To which LaHood retorts: “What he really means is that, because he doesn’t get bikes, no one else does either.”

LaHood goes on to cite an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project extending a bike trail between downtown Minneapolis and the new Minnesota Twins stadium.

“I guess a better connection to Minneapolis’s central business district doesn’t count as infrastructure to some folks,” the secretary wrote. In fact, projects aimed at improving biking, walking and livability are central to both economic recovery, livability and future prosperity.

“We don’t call that waste,” LaHood concluded. “We call it progress.”