Biking and walking safety programs get a $600 million boost in Governor Newsom’s proposed budget released last week. The Active Transportation Program gets an additional $500 million, more than double its normal annual allocation, and the Highway Safety Improvement Program gets an additional $100 million. CalBike applauds the governor for dedicating a solid 3% of the discretionary surplus to biking and walking.
The budget also includes a welcome $150 million allocation for freeway removal.CalBike advocated for a $2 billion allocation of the state’s surplus to biking and walking safety, including a pilot program for complete bikeway networks. The governor’s commitment of $600 million falls far short of making the transformational impact we need for bicycling to become a realistic option for most Californians in most communities. Worse, the governor’s budget includes a massive $523 million allocation to gasoline consumers in the form of a reduced gas tax.
“The governor’s budget is two steps forward and one step back,” said Dave Snyder, CalBike’s Executive Director. “Big spending and breathless verbal commitments to address the climate crisis, social inequity, and declining health are all meaningless if Californians are forced to drive a car for most of their trips,” he added. “We look forward to working with the legislators and the governor’s office, with the support of our members, to make the budget reflect the state’s expressed priorities.”
Next, legislators and the public review the budget and advocate for changes until May, when the governor releases a revised proposal based on that feedback and updated economic data. The legislature uses the “May Revise” of the governor’s budget at its starting point for its final budget proposal that must be signed by the governor in June. CalBike has until then to work with legislators and the governor’s staff to get a better result.
The full budget summary is available at https://www.ebudget.ca.gov/FullBudgetSummary.pdf
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