What a Republican-controlled House would mean for bicycling

A big issue at stake with tonight’s elections is how a Republican-controlled House of Representatives — a result many feel is foregone conclusion — would impact bicycling and active transportation programs, funding, and policies.

With that transfer of power, Republicans would also assume leadership of the all-important House Committees that set the rules of the game for everything from tax policy (Bike Commuter Benefit for instance) to infrastructure spending priorities.

At the center of what’s at stake for bicycling and active transportation are three men: John Boehner, Jim Oberstar, and Peter DeFazio.

Boehner is currently the House minority leader and he would likely assume the Speaker of the House position (which Nancy Pelosi currently holds) if the Republicans take over. Boehner has chimed in about bicycling several times in the past few years. In January 2009 he referenced how widening highways would help American families and likened “bike paths” to “beautification projects.”

Back in 2007, when the Bike Commuter Tax Benefit was on the floor, Boehner ridiculed the bill. After suggesting that the bill’s champion, Earl Blumenauer recuse himself from voting on it simply because he rides to work, Boehner went into an explanation of how the bill “is not going to solve America’s energy problem.”