Monday, March 8, 2010

I want my money back

As recent warmer temperatures here in COMO saw more pedestrian and cycling traffic downtown late last week and over the weekend, one of our Missouri Senators (Kit Bond) was busy arguing with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood during the cabinet sectretary's appropriations meeting.  On the topic of recent U.S. Department of Transportation grants and partnerships between DOT and housing and environmental protection agencies meant to improve "walkable local development," Secretary LaHood defined the term "livability" as "communities where people have access to many different forms of transportaiton, and affordable housing" stating that perhaps people, "...don't want a car, so they can walk to work or take mass transit to work...."  Sen. Bond argued that citizens would not embrace "...walkable infrastructure" and asked "When did it become the responsibility of the federal DOT to build sidewalks?"  LaHood reminded him that the federal government decided to do that about 20 years ago.

Not coincidentally, in 2009, Missouri was the 13th highest state in adult obesity and 23rd highest in overweight youths (ages 10-17).  According to the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, the annual medical cost of obesity to Missourians factors out to be $450 per year, per Missouri adult (second highest in the nation).  Thus, I've decided to make the following request:

To Whom it May Concern:
I want my money back.  I want the $450 back that it will cost me to care for the obese individual driving the green minivan that recently hit a COMO cyclist while the driver was busy munching on her Krispy Kreme doughnut. If my government representative is fighting against my tax dollars to be spent on cycling and walking infrastructure without my consent, then I further do not consent for the taking of my $450 every year.  I don't want this payment in cash, but rather reallocated to be spent on concrete for sidewalks and reflective paint for bike lanes.  According to my calculations, $450 will pay for about 100 feet of sidewalk or a half-mile of bike lane, not including labor, which I would like to sub-contract out to individuals looking to join a gym in order to shed some pounds.  Instead of them paying Wilson's or Gold's they can volunteer for the city of COMO at no cost to them - to lose weight and do the community a service, which Senator Bond says we will "not embrace."



  1. Actually Senator Bond has done more for bicycling and walking than nearly anyone else in the Senate and certainly more than Senator McCaskill. McCaskill, who by all accounts does not "get" bicycling and walking, has stated that she would not vote for any bicycling and walking infrastructure. She said that her voters from rural Missouri would look at her like she had "three eyes" if she did.

    What is frustrating about Senator Bond is that he changes his mind on these issues all the time. One minute, he is championing a new funding source for non-motorized transportation and programs like bringing the walking school bus to lower income neighborhoods. The next he is.......well, doing stuff like this.

    Whatever the case, I'm quite confident that whomever the next Senator is from Missouri they will do even less for non-motorized transportation than Senator Bond. Unfortunately.

  2. Very cool info, though!