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LaHood elevates biking, walking to parity with cars

Call it sacrilege. Call it radical. But U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has actually elevated the  bicycle and  the human foot to parity with the automobile in federal transportation policy.

On Monday, LaHood announced what could be -- if it is backed with actual dollars-and-cents policy -- a sea change from the auto-centric bias that has prevailed in federal transportation policy since World War II.

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"People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," he said. "We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."

As part of this policy, LaHood said, the federal government will urge state departments of transportation to "treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes."

The WashCycle blog is calling LaHood's statement "simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation."

Thanks to Greater Greater Washington for iits coverage of what could be a landmark decision.

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