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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Hear that screeching noise?

That's the sound of the entire federal transportation program coming to a complete standstill, thanks to the political posturing of one lame-duck senator. Please note this post does not represent any endorsement of one particular party over another.

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Yes, last Thursday Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) decided to hold up not only the Highway Trust Fund extension (the transportation bill that funds nearly all federal roadway projects – it expired in 2009, but Congress hasn't gotten around to reauthorizing it yet), but federal unemployment benefits, too. In the middle of a recession. Seriously.

The fallout, according to the U.S. DOT:

  • 2,000 DOT employees furloughed;
  • all transportation projects on federal lands halted, due to the recall of federal inspectors;
  • federal drunk driving programs suspended;
  • stoppage of hundreds of millions in reimbursements to states for transportation projects;
  • COBRA and unemployment insurance benefits suspended for 400,000 people

Satisfaction from political payback to a party that wouldn't back your re-election bid: temporary and fleeting.

Cost to the country for holding hostage much needed aide and employment during a financial crisis: priceless.