California’s budget surplus is a staggering $31 billion. CalBike, along with coalition partners, has demanded that at least $2 billion of that funding go to support bicycle and pedestrian safety through the Active Transportation Program and a new fund to build complete bikeway networks for 15-minute neighborhoods.
We request that the first $500 million of those funds support projects denied state support in the most recent round (cycle 5) of the Active Transportation Program. Cities and counties were told that if their application received a score of at least 86 points out of a possible 100, they should expect funding. Instead, the available ATP money was only enough to cover projects that scored 92 points or better. An additional $500 million will make up the difference, greenlighting about 80 excellent projects that were denied funding last year.
Next, at least $500 million must be dedicated to a new fund for complete bikeway networks. Emphasizing networks, rather than the piecemeal approach to bicycle infrastructure many cities have taken in the past, is essential to creating truly bikeable communities. These networks would build the foundation for 15-minute neighborhoods, where everyone’s typical daily needs are just a safe and comfortable 15-minute bike ride away.
Finally, the remaining $1 billion will fund a variety of projects, including augmenting the upcoming ATP funding round. Cycle 6, which will provide money for projects that break ground starting in 2023, will undoubtedly see more worthwhile proposals than the normal budget can cover.
California needs $2 billion for bikes in 2022 to expedite the development of safer streets. We can’t wait the typical five years (or more) from project initiation to completion—the earth is running out of time.