CalBike works to protect bicycle funding

Brian Annis had never seen such an assembly of leaders for bicycling and walking in his 24th floor conference room before. CalBike was there, along with a half dozen of our allies, to give our perspective on transportation funding before the governor releases his budget proposal in January. Annis, Deputy Secretary for Transportation at the Bureau of Transportation and Housing (BTH), along with his colleagues at the Department of Finance and the California Transportation Commission, heard our pitch for the value of bicycling investments to meet many of the state’s goals: mobility, injury reduction, public health, greenhouse gas emissions, and economy.

All of this critical meeting followed the decision by the U.S. Congress to kill most of the dedicated funding for bicycling and walking in the new federal transportation bill, MAP-21. Under the new bill, California could legally just stop funding bicycle safety and mobility improvements. They won’t, however, thanks to you and the rest of the organized California bicycling movement. But the state is enacting big changes that could make our situation worse, or much, much better. Now is the time to get involved to keep the pressure on the Governor and the Legislature.

The BTH is circulating a draft proposal to create a new fund called the “Active Transportation Account” (AcTA), which funds bicycling and walking at 92% of previous levels. That’s worse. It could, however, have narrower criteria compared to previous years, improving the prospects of funding bicycling and walking. That’s better. In future years, the Active Transportation Account could be the recipient of significant funding from cap & trade revenues or other revenues the Legislature devises.

Right now, we’re working to ensure that bicycling and walking receive the same level of funding as in previous years. According to our lobbyist at Platinum Advisors, BTH chief Brian Kelly likes to reach a consensus before proposals are even released, so our involvement already is critical.

Once the Governor’s proposal is released in January, we’ll have only a few months to exert our influence before the Legislature approves it. You can help by making a donation to CalBike today. Your funding will go directly to organizing in the districts whose Assemblymembers and Senators sit on the budget committees. Your dollars will be translated into state dollars for bicycle infrastructure. Donate today.