The $4 million Union Station Bike Transit Center is scheduled to open in Washington, DC on October 2nd. According to an August Washington Post story, 80 percent of the cost of this opulent bike center is being borne by federal taxpayers via the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Look, I harbor no animosity against bike riders, but under what authority – legal or moral – does the federal government tax me in order to build bike centers for parochial, special interests? The Constitution?
But let’s pretend – and I mean pretend – that such federal expenditures are legitimate. The Post article say the center will have 150 indoor bike racks and 20 outdoors. A recent NPR article says it will hold 130 bikes. Whatever the figure, at a cost of $4 million, it comes out to around $25-$30 thousand per bike. And, yes, I recognize that the “1,700-square-foot building west of the station will also have changing rooms, personal lockers, a bike repair shop and a retail store that will sell drinks and bike accessories.” But the ultimate purpose is to hold bikes. In my mind, the extra extravagance merely reflects the fact that taxpayers are picking up the tab.
There’s the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it’s more like 4 million:
There you go, America. Your taxes are funding this multi-million dollar bike rack in Washington, DC – the beneficiaries of which will probably be the same Capitol Hill lobbyists and congressional staffers who spend all day pilfering your paychecks.