Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fresh WI GOP budget assault on WI bike transportation brewing

There is apparently a move underway by GOP legislators to insert language in the budget that would end the use of state funding, or federal funding passed through the state to localities, for various pedestrian and bike projects and trails.

The popular Henry Aaron State Trail that has been integral to the revival of the Milwaukee River Valley received such support.

Bikes and pedestrians mitigate traffic congestion and road use, and also attract tourists, as has the successful Interurban project in Ozaukee County, and WisDOT touts may similar projects over the last twenty-some years.

The projects also add a bit of balance to the far bigger highway budgets.

Legislators who do not represent big cities often do not appreciate the extent of non-vehicle commuting and recreation. These legislators 'thinking' is: if localities want these facilities, they have to pay 100% of the coset - - though state-imposed spending caps make that outcome difficult-to-impossible, and no such one-dimensional approach is required when a street or highway expansion is planned.

Walker's budget already repeals the Complete Streets Act, which called for the addition of bike lanes or sidewalks on street projects above a certain expenditure level; the potential prohibition of spending on separate bike or pedestrian trails extends this one-sided 'transportation' model in Wisconsin.

One more thing? Will Walker and the GOP's anger at former Trek executive Mary Burke ever subside for her audacious 2014 campaign challenge to Walker?

Remember the good old days, when everyone in Wisconsin - - Walker included - - lauded Trek and the biking it fostered?


nonheroicvet said...

It seems as though bicycles aren't even willing to help pay for the paint to define their lanes on public roads. Would be easier to be sympathetic if they would ante up.

BigWheel said...

As a motorist who pays gas taxes, I want you to know I want my gasoline taxes to go to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

As a Wisconsin taxpayer paying into the general fund, $200 million of which is slated to be diverted into the transportation fund for 2016-17, and knowing an October LFB paper showed the net transfer (including “raids”) since 2003 to be $306 million from GPR INTO Transportation, I want you to know that I want my taxes to go to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

As a federal taxpayer, who is on the line for the $500 million of borrowed highway stimulus money Wisconsin spent in 2009/10, and who is paying into the federal general fund which has been subsidizing the federal highway fund to the tune of $60 billion since 2007, during which time Wisconsin received more federal transportation dollars than it paid in federal gas tax, I want you to know that I want my taxes to go to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

And as a property taxpayer in Wisconsin, where 83% of local road costs come from property taxes, I want you to know that I want my taxes to go to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

I understand that there are many people whose pet peeve is poor behavior on the part of bicyclists. As a conscientious bicyclist who strives to be respectful to all road users, I ask that you not apply collective punishment to bicyclists by imposing new taxes, eliminating programs, or barring WISDOT from funding ped/bike improvements.

Anonymous said...

not to be unduly paranoid, but is there any chance - or evidence - that this new assault on bikes is retaliatory on Mary Burke? I wouldn't put it past these folks.