Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Pedro Celis portrayed himself as a bike advocate yesterday, tweeting out a photo of himself in bike garb and astride a bike, noting that he was a member of the bike advocacy group, the Cascade Bike Club.

"Yes, Pedro would likely have supported HR 4745. If we can't start with TIGER grants then where can we start?"

We asked Celis is he supported his party's recent bill HR 4745 to cut the federal TIGER grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) budget from $600 million to $100 million. The GOP legislation alsoo mandated that the grants could no longer go to bed and pike projects. TIGER money, the legislation said, could only go to road construction.

(Seattle recently tried to get TIGER grant money for a bike/ped bridge in Northgate to connect the neighborhood to the coming light rail station and for upgrades to the Burke-Gilman by the UW; both requests were turned down.)

Celis' spokesman Gray Delany told PubliCola it's likely Celis would have supported the GOP legislation to gut bike and ped funding. 

We have an almost $18 trillion national debt. If we do not make serious decisions about our out of control spending then we will never balance our budget. The CBO estimates that our interest payments, as a percentage of our federal outlays, are set to increase to almost 12 percent of our federal budget by 2018. This will threaten all Federal Programs including vital programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

 Yes, Pedro would likely have supported HR 4745. Pedro is a strong supporter of cycling but funding for bike trails needs to come from state and local governments. The Federal Government has to get its fiscal house in order. If we can't start with Tiger grants then where can we start?

Cascade Bicycle Club spokeswoman Anne-Marije Rook confirmed that Celis is a member of Cascade; he has been since 2008 (he has a $65 family membership with his wife) and he's done the Seattle to Portland ride three times.

Rook says CBC are "big supporters of Tiger grants ... They are an important source of funding and we'd hate to lose that."  She said the group organized letter writing campaigns in support of the TIGER grants at Northgate and the UW for the Burke-Gilman. 

She added: "We draw members from all backgrounds with a myriad of political opinions, many opinions that staff doesn't agree with which doesn't mean we can't welcome them under the umbrella of bicycling." 

CBC only endorses in state races and has not taken a position in Celis' race. He's challenging U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1) who voted no on HR 4745, which passed 229-129. 

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