Mitt Romney Erupts Over Plan Replacing Roads With Bike Paths

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney has called the ideas that reward the purchase of electric bicycles and replacing vehicle lanes with bike lanes the height of stupidity.

Romney told Insider. Romney said that converting vehicle lanes into bike lanes, in his view, is a monumentally dumb idea that will only lead to more congestion and pollution. 

He also said that e-bikes are very pricey.

The Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act, introduced last month by Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), would assist state and local governments in constructing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that is both safer and more comprehensive. Romney’s remarks come in the wake of this legislation.

The legislation, named after a U.S. diplomat who was killed in August after being hit by a flatbed truck driver, will free up funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program for projects that link together existing safe cycling infrastructure and make it possible for the federal government to fully fund other projects aimed at ensuring the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Raskin said in a statement that the federal government must do more to assist transportation infrastructure in adapting to meet diverse sorts of road users.

In a second effort to promote e-bike usage via a consumer tax credit, a group of Democratic legislators proposed the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act last month.

New electric bicycles costing less than $8,000 are eligible for the E-Bike Act. That is a plan where consumers get a  tax credit covering 30 percent of the price (capped at $1,500.)

Romney’s criticism of the bill echoes that of other Republican legislators.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, “We’re over-subsidizing electric automobiles as it is.” 

She said she doesn’t want to add to the injustice of the present system where electric vehicles are free riders and don’t pay to help maintain roads and bridges via a gas tax or any form of levy.

As public transportation isn’t an option for employees in suburban and rural areas, proponents of the e-bike law believe that the tax credits would enable low-income individuals to afford bikes that are now available only to higher-income people.