CalBike Response to May Revise
For Immediate Release: May 16, 2023
Contact: Jared Sanchez, Policy Director, (714) 262-0921, firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor’s May 2023 Budget Revise Continues Cuts to Active Transportation
Sacramento, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom’s “May Revise” of the state’s July 2023-June 2024 budget fails to provide the funding needed to support biking, walking, and public transit. The governor claims to include $1.4 billion for active transportation projects. However, the budget maintains a major reduction to the Active Transportation Program and falls severely short of what’s needed to stem the emission-driven global climate crisis.
The governor’s May budget is a missed opportunity to allocate the funding California needs to build an equitable transportation system and achieve our state’s climate goals. California needs to move quickly to make biking easier — and Newsom’s proposed budget just isn’t enough to build the needed bike infrastructure to significantly reduce automobile vehicle miles traveled and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Walkable, bikeable communities offer the biggest return on investment among transportation solutions to the climate crisis. The budget’s $9 billion agenda for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) is a misguided effort to curb climate change that will ultimately fall short. We must think beyond increasing motor vehicle traffic and expanding the freeway system to support it, and instead build a low-carbon future based around walkable, bikeable communities.
What is missing in the budget?
The California Bicycle Coalition has been tracking interest in the new Electric Bicycle Incentive Project, administered by the California Air Resources Board. The governor’s budget doesn’t include funding to continue this popular and vital electric vehicle incentive.
CalBike has received interest from more than 17,000 Californians who want to participate in EBIP. Based on the $7.5 million currently available through the program after administration, education, and outreach costs, the pilot will offer between 3,000 and 7,000 vouchers. Because the program only has a fraction of the funding it needs to meet the demand, CalBike expects funds to be exhausted very quickly, leaving many low-income Californians without resources to get the transportation they need.
In a letter signed by a coalition of environmental groups, CalBike has requested $50 million for e-bike incentives in the next budget.
“The California Electric Bicycle Incentive Project offers a huge bang for the buck being spent to reduce the state’s climate pollution. Expanding this program will provide more equitable access to clean transportation and help the state meet our climate goals. It’s a win-win,” said Jared Sanchez, Policy Director, CalBike.
Complete Streets funding
California should invest much more in active transportation projects that build complete bikeway networks — no more bike lanes to nowhere or bikeways made unsafe by impassable intersections. This should include funding for a program that rewards cities whose leaders quickly install protected networks that create true active transportation grids. It’s particularly crucial that these bike networks connect bike infrastructure to local destinations, including offices, schools, and shopping areas.
Investments in disadvantaged communities
In our racialized economy, Black and brown Californians are disproportionately affected by inflation and need better, more affordable mobility options. In addition, many communities of color suffer from decades of disinvestment and should be prioritized for new active transportation investments. As inflation hits Californians hard, safe biking is a lifeline to millions of Californians who can’t afford to fill their gas tanks without sacrificing other priorities, like healthy food and secure housing.
What happens next?
The legislature will now revise the governor’s proposal and negotiate with him on a final budget for approval by June 15. There are many fantastic bills in the legislature this year that will make our streets safer. The budget needs to include enough active transportation funding to pay for these excellent pilot projects and meet the demand of ongoing programs across the state.
CalBike’s Invest/Divest campaign
At CalBike, we believe California should devote a minimum of 50% of its transportation budget to support active transportation: biking, walking, public transit, and Complete Streets infrastructure. The CalBike Invest/Divest campaign aims to shift California’s transportation spending from our current traffic-inducing, climate-killing system to sustainable mobility options, equitable treatment of all road users regardless of race, and a transportation future where it is easier and safer for more people to get around by biking, walking, or using public transportation.