Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget A Step Backward
While touting the importance of active transportation in his budget narrative, Governor Brown’s budget reduces active transportation funding by $14 million. Meanwhile, funding for other transportation purposes is up by $200 million, with high-speed rail and electric cars each receiving more funding than active transportation. When the Active Transportation Program was established in 2013, Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly frequently cited the need to increase the program (amounting to approximately 1% of the state transportation budget) in future budget cycles. Instead, we’re going backwards. The California Bicycle Coalition and our state partners are gearing up for a campaign to help Secretary Kelly follow his intention to increase the ATP.
In the first cycle of the ATP, covering three years of funding, the state-controlled portion of the program received more than $1 billion in applications for just $221 million of available funds. Other sources of funding, especially at the local level, have helped close the deficit of financing for active transportation projects, but demand continues to far exceed available funds.
Fortunately, the just-released budget is just a first draft. In coordination with our state partners, we’re working with the California Legislature to increase funding for biking and walking, with an emphasis on the construction of whole connected networks of low-traffic-stress streets that will attract everyone to biking. The state’s goals for greenhouse gas reductions and our aspirations for healthier, safer, and more prosperous communities call for more than electric vehicles and high-speed rail; we also need interconnected networks of safe, comfortable streets for bicycling.