Funding increase for bike and ped projects, Complete Streets, Equity, Eminent Domain all gain support at state level. The next steps are to enact the polices and changes to make the solutions a reality.
Sometimes the first step in making change is just having your goals acknowledged as viable options to solve the problems that we work to fix. It may not be flashy work or make a great Instagram post, but Bike Fed staff, lobbyists, and Board members have participated in statewide councils and committees advancing our goals throughout the year and are seeing some positive developments.
At the behest of Bike Fed staff, The Governor’s Bicycle Coordinating Council wrote a letter to WisDOT Secretary Designee Craig Thompson to request WisDOT obligate all Transportation Alternatives money to bike and ped projects. As we’ve noted in the past, currently about half of it is diverted to funding highway projects. We continue to work on this with partners at Rails to Trails Conservancy and our lobbyists. When a more complete and accurate picture of what is happening and why is finalized we will share with you more actions to take in support.
Executive Director, Kirsten Finn, presented our solutions relating to how bikes can help curb climate change to the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change. All of our asks were included on their final report released this week.
- Require the WisDOT to incorporate Complete Street designs in all state roadway projects.
- Restore eminent domain acquisition for pedestrian and bike trails.
- Increase state funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and direct a portion of funds to under-resourced communities and environmental justice communities.
- Provide funding for bicycle programs and bike infrastructure in low-income communities
As a member of the Wisconsin Non-Drivers Advisory Committe, Kirsten also has had many discussions with WisDOT about how the above solutions can be implemented to solve many of the problems facing all non-driver’s in Wisconsin.
While I write this we are not aware of specific legislative actions or budgetary changes. We have been successful at building support for these initiatives through these and other councils, committees, and among various partners around the state. The next steps are to pressure our elected officials to take actions both through budgeting process as well as policy and legislation changes. When legislative sessions begin again this spring these will be key talking points to remind our representatives and urge them to act on agreed solutions to myriad of problems. Because as we’ve said all along… bikes can solve many of the worlds problems, if we let them.