During a Fox News interview yesterday about crumbling bridges in Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) used the opportunity to lash out against a different target: bike paths.
President Obama will visit a dilapidated bridge joining Ohio and Kentucky today, a matter that Fox host Neil Cavuto posed to Kentucky’s junior senator. Paul, who opposes the president’s jobs plan that would put thousands of construction workers back in a job fixing roads and bridges, said he would attend the event with a different proposal. Paul argued that we ought to pay for bridge repairs by cutting funding for bike paths because it was “craziness.”
CAVUTO: Could I get your take on the president’s posture on all of this and what some are calling stimulus and he’s going to be pushing a lot more in the infrastructure route beginning tomorrow and over the next few days. What do you make of that and whether this time the White House feels it has a more supporting public?
PAUL: The interesting thing is he’s coming to my state tomorrow to inspect one of the bridges in northern Kentucky and I’m going to be there. He invited me to come. I’m also going to be there with a suggestion of legislation that I will be introducing that would pay for an emergency fund to fund our bridges. Right now we set aside 10 percent for bike paths and turtle tunnels and squirrel sanctuaries and all this craziness. I’m going to say, “let’s take 10 percent of the highway fund, set it aside for emergencies, then have a national priority list and say if this bridge is closed down that’s a national emergency, let’s fix it as a priority.”
The president’s jobs plan is paid for by a number of different mechanisms, including the “Buffett Rule” which would increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Republicans are adamantly opposed to raising taxes on billionaires, including Paul who would rather defund bike paths and other infrastructure projects than slightly increase the marginal tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.
Paul isn’t the first Republican to see a pernicious nature behind bicycling. Last fall, Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes declared that Denver’s bike-sharing program was a “well-disguised” effort to turn the city into a “United Nations community.”