Governor Scott Walker has introduced a two-year state budget that has tremendous negative implications for cyclists and for biking safety.
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.
Just ten days ago the Bike Fed had been assured by the governor’s office in a face-to-face meeting with one of his aides that he would not propose the repeal of Complete Streets in his budget. A week and a half later the governor did just that. We were also led to believe that there would be no cuts in TAP. The Stewardship Fund repeal came without any warning whatsoever.
The Bike Fed will be working hard to fight each of these changes.
You can help by contacting the governor and your legislator to call for a reversal on these three items. The message is clear:
Restore Complete Streets.
Replace the $2 million in TAP.
Restore the Stewardship Fund.
You can use the Bike Fed’s new online tool, VoteBike.com to find your legislator and tell them that bicycling matters to you, and to Wisconsin
The budget will now be taken up by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which will be holding hearings around the state. We will get you the list of times and places for hearings when we have them. The budget won’t likely come up for final votes until June.
The Bike Fed is hard at work with coalition partners and friendly legislators to overturn these horrible decisions. But we can’t do it without your support.
Please contact the governor and your legislators as soon as you can.