This morning I biked to work with a group of DOT commuters from the Washington Monument to our headquarters building. The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn't burn a drop of gas--which saved us some money.
That's what I call a successful commute.
President Obama understands that high gas prices are pinching family budgets across America. And at DOT we are committed to providing people with convenient, affordable, and healthy transportation options.
That can help ease the pain everyone feels at the pump these days. It can lower the burden of tailpipe emissions on our environment. And it can create economic opportunities. We know that building bicycle, transit, and rail facilities creates jobs. And we know that businesses will pop up where streets are friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.
And if you don't believe me, just ask the League of American Bicyclists, who recently recognized the city's efforts with its Silver award. In fact, there's an informal race on the East Coast to see which large city can be first to achieve the Gold award. When we have cities competing to be acknowledged for their livability, that tells me things are going in the right direction.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has played its part in DC's bike-volution. For example, we helped fund development of Capital Bikeshare, a program that makes more than 1,100 bikes available to its members throughout DC and Arlington. People can hop on a bike at one station and drop it at another. With 110 stations at transit stops, grocery stores, office buildings, and more, it's a very convenient way to get around.
In May 2010, we also gave DOT bicycle commuters a new benefit that allows reimbursement for qualified commuting costs similar to that provided to employees who commute by public transportation.
Around the nation, we've been working hard to help state DOTs and communities integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in road projects. And through our TIGER program, we have funded major projects that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.
I want to thank Darren Buck from our Federal Highway Administration for suggesting that I ride with the bike commuters this morning. After our ride, Darren told me, "This shows the country that DOT is out there continuing to lead in helping Americans use whatever methods of transportation we can to get where we need to go. Plus, it was a lot of fun."
He's right on both counts. And whether you're commuting by car, bike, or transit, please ride safely, everyone.