On Tuesday, House Republicans released a transportation package that environmental groups have labeled as a massive giveaway to oil and gas interests.
It’s got everything that oil companies have asked for over the years and more: drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, increasing oil shale production, allowing much larger trucks on highways, and cutting funds for high-speed rail. And Speaker John Boehner has said he wants to attach a provision to the bill that would force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as well.
But here’s where it gets really sad: The bill would also cut the Safe Routes to School program, a $202 million grant program that helps states and school districts make improvements so that kids and their families can walk to school without getting run over. There are many reasons this program is a good idea. Pedestrian deaths have been up in recent years, and this is one way to address that challenge. It’s also better for everyone else when kids don’t need a fleet of polluting minivans to get to school. And walking is good for you. Unless you get run over, that is. Then walking is bad for you.