Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for 2023 cuts some of the funds added to the Active Transportation Program last year. CalBike and our allies recently sent a letter to the California Senate and Assembly leaders and the budget committees of each branch, urging them to not only restore those funds but to fully fund the ATP and create an additional fund to help communities build Complete Streets.
Read CalBike’s budget letter: 3/16/2023 Budget Request for Active Transportation Sign On
Invest in active transportation, divest from freeway building
Our budget advocacy is a critical element of our Invest/Divest Campaign. Despite a predicted budget shortfall this year, we believe California can fully fund active transportation projects if it adjusts its transportation budget to align with its climate and equity goals.
However, even without shifting money from climate-killing freeway projects, California has additional transportation funding from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act that should be directed to projects that support safe biking and walking.
More money for the ATP
Last year, thanks to advocacy by CalBike and our allies, the ATP got a one-time funding boost, so Cycle 6 had $1.6 billion to dole out to projects across the state rather than the usual amount of $400 to $600 million. But it’s still not enough.
Every year, more and better projects vie for ATP funding as municipalities across the state recognize the value of Complete Streets and seek help to upgrade their infrastructure. That demand will only grow as communities begin to update the circulation elements in their general plans and look for resources to implement those plans pursuant to SB 932.
Yet, even with significant additional funding, Streetsblog reported that there was funding only for projects with a score of 89 (out of 100) or higher. That’s better than in Cycle 5, when projects needed a score of 92 to get funded, but it means that many worthy biking and walking projects won’t get built because our state isn’t providing enough support to tackle these much-needed improvements.
California needs Complete Streets
A Complete Street is a roadway that serves the needs of all users: people biking, walking, driving, and taking public transit. Complete Streets connect to popular local destinations via protected intersections. Bike lanes and sidewalks don’t abruptly disappear. Bus riders have shelter and seating, and bus-only lanes ensure that transit is a fast and appealing alternative to driving a private vehicle.
Complete Streets are safe for everyone. People from 8 to 80 can feel safe enough to bike on protected bikeways. And people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and other identifications feel safe to move freely in their community without fear of biased and often brutal police action against them.
State policies prioritize Complete Streets, but there’s no money to support that priority. That’s why we need dedicated funding to help communities build Complete Streets, and CalBike is advocating for just that.
California’s transportation transformation can’t wait
For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have been fed budget crumbs. We’ve been told to be patient, that we have to wait. At the same time, our state has pumped billions into the status quo: freeways that lead to more congestion and pollution, which leads to more freeway construction, in an endless loop of doom.
California can’t afford not to fund the safe streets we need to mitigate the climate crisis and create livable communities for all residents, and CalBike is bringing this agenda to the forefront in this year’s budget negotiations. But we’re up against vested interests from various private industries as well as years of entrenched policy at state agencies such as Caltrans.
How you can help: We’ll be calling on CalBike members and supporters to reach out to your representatives to tell them to fund active transportation NOW. If you’re not on our list, please join us to get the latest updates and opportunities to speak up for safe streets.