Thursday, February 5, 2015

Save Wisconsin's bike funding and Complete Streets!

From the Wisconsin Bike Fed blog:

The governor’s budget (Senate Bill 21) would:
  • Repeal Wisconsin’s successful Complete Streets law. The law requires that bicyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed with state or federal funds. There are all manner of ways to get an exception if the project would be too expensive or if use by bikes and pedestrians is projected to be too light. The law works well in practice. Yet, the governor chose to eliminate it altogether. This would mean many fewer safe places to bike.
  • Cut the Transportation Alternatives Program by $2 million. The governor would eliminate all state support for this program, leaving only federal dollars. TAP is used for a variety of pro-biking initiatives, including bike plans and facilities.
  • Essentially eliminate the Stewardship Fund. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund (named for iconic Republican Governor Warren Knowles and Democratic Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson) works to purchase and protect land for future generations. Funds for state trail purchases are included in the program. The governor would stop all purchases for over a decade.
 If this proposed budget were implemented, it would be a terrible step backwards for cycling and walking in Wisconsin. Complete Streets has been a successful instrument to provide amenities and allow access for all street users, not just people driving. Repealing this requirement is shortsighted and will make Wisconsin a less livable state. Streets only get rebuilt every 20 to 40 years, and therefore even if Complete Streets requirements were to be introduced some time in the future, the damage already would have been done. So please take some time and write to your state legislator or the governor to make your voice heard.

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