Republicans: The Anti-Bicycle Party?

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    Based on this story, and also how can we forget this classic (“Bike agenda spins cities toward U.N. control, Maes warns”), it sure seems that way:

    The main crux of [the Arlington GOP’s] complaint is that a handful of additional on-street parking places for automobiles are being removed in order to “install even more subsidized rental bicycles along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor” but here, too, the free market logic is lacking. After all, physical space in this corridor is extremely expensive. Far and away the largest subsidy Capital Bikeshare receives from the Arlington Country government is precisely the provision of space. But the alternate use for that space was as automobile parking. So we’re not talking about any net increase in subsidy, we’re talking about shifting a tiny proportion of the space currently set aside as a subsidy to drivers and repurposing it as a subsidy for bicycles. Even with the new stations up and running, the amount of space dedicated to on-street parking will still dwarf the space dedicated to bicycle sharing. And that’s even though subsidies to drivers are regressive and encourage worse air pollution and public health outcomes.

    Apparently, in the Republican worldview, if something’s regressive (e.g., hurts poor people, helps rich people), encourages pollution and bad public health outcomes (who cares about the “little people,” apparently), keeps us hooked on foreign oil (most of which is produced in repressive, unstable, and/or authoritarian countries; some of the proceeds of which go to “the terrorists”), and prevents the U.N. and its black helicopters/world government/socialism/communism from taking over, then they’re all for it. What a bizarre political party this has become, the early 21st century equivalent of the John Birch Society gone mainstream. Craaaaaaaaaaaazy.

    P.S. Shorter version of the Arlington GOP argument: “I should be able to drive and park my Hummer/giant SUV anywhere I want at any time, the government should subsidize that big time, and bikes are a commie plot anyway. Oh, and did I tell you to GET THE HE** OFF MY LAWN!!!”

    P.P.S. See here for the Arlington GOP’s bizarre rant.

    • Building & maintaining roads funded by general taxes is a subsidy. Setting aside space for parking spots & charging below-market-rate tolls is a subsidy.

      I think the GOP has just internalized all of those subsidies and only thinks anything NEW registers as a subsidy. And it’s weird that in every other circumstance, we’re supposed to let the free market decide, except in the case of parking, in which case we’re supposed to subsidize it rather than letting the free market decide whether a private lot needs to be built. And we’re DEFINITELY not supposed to connect car pollution to the asthma it causes – those costs caused by the few are supposed to be shared by all of us.

      But as the poll at ArlNow.com shows, only 17% of nearly a thousand respondents agree with that GOP extreme position.