At a time in which our roads and bridges are falling apart because of a shortage of money, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's decision to put walking and bicycling on par with vehicle travel is nuts.
We agree that walking and bicycling paths have a role in our communities and deserve consideration for some funding, as has been the case in the past.
But what LaHood, a former Republican congressman, is proposing goes far beyond that.
In this March 15 entry on his government blog (http://fastlane.dot.gov), LaHood wrote:
"Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."
Later he wrote the Transportation Department is encouraging states and other entities to "treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes."
But in most of America, walking and bicycling are not equal compared to the trains, trucks and cars that transport most people and products.
The National Association of Manufacturers' blog, Shopfloor.org, calls new policy ''dumb and irresponsible,'' noting that 80 percent of the nation's freight moves by truck.
We don't agree with those who say that the United States should not be paying for any bicycling and walking projects from fuel-tax proceeds.
Walking and bicycling are modes of transportation and developing safer routes for those also is better for motorists.
But except in the most urban settings, they probably aren't equal in need as routes for motorized travel and shouldn't have the same priority for funding.
We suggest LaHood rethink his "sea change" in policy because right now it's all wet.