Governor Brown’s proposed budget, released on Thursday, once again supports the status quo of increased car travel. Despite a $16.2 billion transportation budget including $3 billion in new revenue, his top priorities are repairing potholes and bridges and “improving trade corridors,” which broadly translates to expanding freeways on the most congested priority truck routes. No new funding was proposed for the $120 million Active Transportation Program. No new policies would ensure that state funds on road maintenance and expansion create complete streets with protected bikeways, improved sidewalks, and safe crossings.
Your California Bicycle Coalition and our allies responded quickly, releasing a statement expressing our dismay that the Governor could issue such a car-oriented transportation budget on the heels of the Paris Agreement about climate change where Governor Brown was lauded for leadership. Our number one concern is the lack of new funding for the Active Transportation Program, despite hundreds of millions in unfunded projects and strong demands from CalBike and our coalition partners.
The budget puts $100 million in Cap-and-Trade funds into signal timing and other improvements that will likely induce more car traffic and increase greenhouse gas emissions. Our letter challenged the so-called “Low Carbon Roads Program” and suggested instead that the funds should support the Active Transportation Program which will cause a shift away from vehicle trips.
Since the budget release, CalBike has been busy in the Capitol sharing our concerns with the Governor’s administration and with our champions in the legislature, gearing up for months of budget negotiations until the final budget is adopted in June.
Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in with your legislator to call for bike-friendly investments as the negotiations heat up. We will need the support of all of our members and the larger bicycle movement to make sure our concerns are addressed and the final budget includes strong investments in expanding bikeways around the state.