What is it about some Missouri politicians? They seem to think they can make political hay out of proposing laws that stick it to bicyclists.
Four years ago it was some council members in St. Charles County who wanted to ban bicycling on some county roads. The issue lost support of the majority on council, however, after local, state and nationally based bicycle advocates lobbied against the measure.
This month it was an amendment in the Missouri state legislature that sought to remove bicycle projects from a proposed sales tax increase for transportation funding.
That amendment failed on Tuesday.
Before the vote, bicycle supporter Rep. Chris Kelly of Columbia summed up the debate as follows:
“To some extent, it’s the people who see the future against the people who just think the bicyclists are some kind of evil hippies.”
Rep. Paul Curtman of Pacific, who proposed the amendment that stripped bicycle projects from the transportation funding plan, was quoted at St. Louis Public Radio:
“We don’t want to make a constitutional case that the state of Missouri should handle all the bike trails across the state because a lot of them are handled at the local level,. … We want to make sure that this money is first appropriated to the core function of state government which is roads and bridges, etc.”
Apparently Curtman needs to understand that bicycles are used for transportation, and that cross-state trails, such as the Katy Trail, draw tourism dollars. That money adds to local economies and also helps shore up tax revenues.
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation called the defeat of the anti-bicycling amendment “the most important victory for bicycling in Missouri in 10 years — and perhaps 100.”
MoBikeFed asked supporters to contact state legislators and thank them for their support.