House Transportation Committee members and their transit ridership

Field Guide to the 113th Congress House of Representatives Transportation Committee and Their Support for Bicycling

Cap’n Transit in New York has done something pretty cool. He took the newly designated members of the US House of Representatives House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, looked up the American Community Survey numbers for the number of car-free households and transit riders in their respective districts, and created charts showing who these members represent.

Here are the Republican members of this committee from California, for example:

US House of Representatives Republican members House Transportation Committee

As the Cap’n points out, these represent mostly suburban and rural districts. Duncan Hunter‘s 50th Congressional District, for example, covers most of San Diego County outside of the central part of the city of San Diego. You might remember Hunter for his famous statement that funding for bike paths are unconstitutional while the Federally funded 10 lane monstrosities criss-crossing his district are perfectly constitutional. Jeff Denham led an effort to strip California of its high speed rail funding, saying the $3.3 billion is better spent on more highways. Gary Miller‘s 42nd District Congressional District, which covers northern Orange County and Southern LA County, is an interesting exception, though even there transit ridership is low.

The Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are Grace Napolitano, Janice Hahn, and John Garamendi. Grace Napolitano, who hails from my father’s hometown of Norwalk, CA, represents the district with the highest transit ridership among these three representatives, but that’s only a paltry 4.36%.

John Garamendi has solid Democratic credentials, but he covers a district where only a token 1% of residents ride public transportation, and his Central Valley bedroom community of Walnut Grove depends solidly on the automobile for all transportation. While Garamdendi pays lip service for the occasional bicycle project, he really likes big money on freeway widening projects that benefit outlying communities like he represents. He claims credit in securing funding for the Highway 4 widening in Pittsburg, CA and the Caldecott Tunnel, for example.

As far as I know, Janice Hahn from Los Angeles is the only cyclist on this committee from California and she’s known to support all kinds of crazy schemes to promote cycling in Los Angeles.

I’ll try to find the time to make up a similar chart for bicycle riders and our Representatives. In the meantime, see Cap’n Transit’s excellent work here outlining all of the members of this committee.