This week, the state’s budget-writing committee, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), took action on two budget items important to cyclists throughout the state.
This week, the state’s budget-writing committee, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), took action on two budget items important to cyclists throughout the state. While Governor Evers included these provisions in his budget proposal, the Republican majority decided to build the budget bill on their own. Here’s what happened:
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding has been frozen at $7.04 million annually since 2014, despite the state’s ability to provide additional federal dollars to the program. In Governor Evers’ 2021-23 proposed budget, he included a much-needed boost of $1 million to TAP funding, which would make a significant impact on the number of projects that can be funded.
After our Action Alert last week, members of JFC heard from hundreds of Bike Fed members and cycling enthusiasts about the increased need for funding for our state’s trails. If you made your voice heard, thank you for your advocacy.
Unfortunately, the Republican majority members of JFC rejected keeping the additional $1 million TAP funding in the budget.
While this is a setback, Bike Fed will continue to advocate for increased funding to support cyclists’ needs throughout Wisconsin communities.
The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program provides funds for cities, counties, non-profit groups, and the state to purchase land for conservation, outdoor recreation, and trails. It funds essential upkeep and maintenance of our waterways, parks, forests, and trails. Because of the Program’s importance to outdoor recreation enthusiasts throughout the state, increasing its funding and longevity are priorities for the Bike Fed.
In Governor Evers’ 2021-23 proposed budget, he made a bold move that Bike Fed welcomed; he asked for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program to be funded at $70 million per year – more than double its current funding – and to reauthorize it for 10 years – 8 years longer than the previous 2-year reauthorization. While land and water conservancy is without a doubt an issue with broad bipartisan support, Republican majority members of JFC again rejected the Governor’s proposal.
The Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program will be funded at about the same amount it has been for the last two years: $32 million annually. Breaking from the status quo, JFC approved extending the reauthorization of the Program from two years to four – a small but significant win in providing stability and certainty for multi-year conservancy projects.