While we rejoice in the impending opening of the Two Rivers Bridge, our brethren in NW Ark appear to be getting the shaft from their newly elected congressional delegation. I'll let Max Brantly of the Arkansaas Times take it from here:
Republicans want to kill NWA trail
Posted by Max Brantley on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM
A trail advocate in Northwest Arkansas told us earlier today that House Republican spending cuts include a $15 million grant for a 40-mile bike trail to run from Fayetteville to Lake Bella Vista. This is a trail for which the Walton family has committed a signficant matching sum. We haven't run down all the angles just yet, but I see the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith is quoting new Republican Rep. Steve Womack, former Rogers mayor, as saying he supports the bike trail but won't do anything to try to save the federal money for it. He said he's sure that if the trail is really needed, some other way will be found to pay for it.
Kiss that trail goodbye, in other words. Washington and Benton county voters aren't likely to be approving any taxes for one of those communistic bike trails any time soon. You might recall that Rep. Donna Hutchinson wrote a factually flawed diatribe against this trail back in December. Trails are just a fad, she said. Transportation money should be spent on roads for cars, she said. Trail advocate Terry Eastin responded at the time, in part:
Between 1992 and 2007 the federal Recreational Trails Program spent $800 million dollars funding 10,000 projects. Sounds like a lot? By comparison, $25 trillion was spent on federal highway construction. The money built 8,178,000 lane miles of new highway. The Recreational Trails Program investment was .00032 percent of the Federal Highway Administration’s road investment.
Gerard Matthews' cover story this week happens to mention the ascendancy of fringe political types who see a U.N. conspiracy in bike trails and other "smart growth."
This fact stands out to me. 3.2 ten-thousandths of a percent of the road investment. Yep, that's taking a big chunk out of that deficit, boys. What else ya' got?
" The Recreational Trails Program investment was .00032 percent of the Federal Highway Administration’s road investment."
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking will likely hinder future projects in support of bike infrastructure. It's short-sighted, as unlike expensive highways, a little pork can build a lot of trail miles