Budget Decision on Funding California’s Bikeways Delayed
Your California Bicycle Coalition and our allies won a battle in our campaign to fund California’s bikeways when the Assembly included in its budget proposal our suggested $25 million boost to the Active Transportation Program, the primary source of bikeway funding. We hoped to report a complete victory this week, since the deadline for adopting a budget was on Monday. We imagined we’d be celebrating significant new funding for building out safe, comfortable bikeway networks in communities around the state. Instead, policymakers decided to delay their decision on the expenditure plan for cap-and-trade funding, the proposed source for new biking and walking funding. The delay, potentially until a new September deadline, gives us more time to build support for our campaign to fund California’s bikeways, but also more time for potential opponents to push back against our early victory.
The Cap-and-Trade Program is a large new funding source—around $2 billion, with $800 million still not allocated. Last week, up against the budget deadline, the Joint Senate and Assembly Budget Committees debated cap-and-trade funding, including our proposed $25 million funding for California’s bikeways, and were unable to reach agreement. Policymakers have set a new deadline of mid-September to figure out how to spend those funds. In the interim, your California Bicycle Coalition will be working with legislators in both houses and with the Governor’s office as they debate this last crucial part of the state’s 2015-2016 budget. We’ll need your help this summer to make sure that our lawmakers don’t miss this opportunity to prioritize bicycling. The $25 million we’re pushing for would be enough to build out a comfortable and convenient network of bikeways, enough to connect an entire community with protected bike lanes, great bike paths, and quiet bicycle boulevards.