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Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin

Badger State Trail and 91 Other Community Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects Go Unfunded

10.09.2006
Madison, Wisconsin

The Badger State Trail, along with 91 other bicycle/pedestrian projects in communities throughout the state will go unfunded by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) over the next two years.

At a press conference today at the site of the Badger State Trail at County Highway PD, the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin explained that much of the funding shortfall is because the state only spends about 30% of the funds that the federal government designates for Transportation Enhancements. The state could chose to spend over $30 million every two years on these projects, but instead recently only provided $9.8 million for the same period. The WisDOT instead uses the funding for other projects like highways. In recent years, the WisDOT has worked to add some token amounts back to the Transportation Enhancement program through a program called Surface Transportation Program-Discretionary (STP-D), but those efforts were eliminated by the Joint Finance Committee in the state budget process.

Bicycle/pedestrian projects reduce crashes through safety improvements, encourage bicycling and walking at a time when obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have grown to truly epidemic levels, reduce our reliance on foreign oil and improve air quality, and support economic development by bringing more bicycling tourism dollars to our state (currently estimated at over $1 billion per year) and helping support the $550 million Wisconsin bicycling industry.

"Transportation Enhancements is a great deal and the state is being shortsighted by not funding the program to the maximum federally allowed amount," said Dar Ward, Executive Director for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. "Bicycling and walking can contribute to a better society and healthier citizens. The cost is a drop in the bucket of the state transportation budget. The amount of money we are talking about is essentially the margin of error for your average highway project, but it can make a huge impact on local communities."

The 2005-2007 total budget for the WisDOT was $5.8 billion. Transportation Enhancements amounted to less than 0.2% of the transportation budget. If Transportation Enhancements was fully funded, it would still only amount to about 0.3% of the state transportation budget.

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin is a statewide nonprofit bicycle education and advocacy organization with over 2,600 members. Bicycle Federation's mission, to make Wisconsin a better place to bicycle, embraces the basic vision behind the organization; that bicycling is a viable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable means of transportation, recreation, and sport. Bicycle Federation provides bicyclists of all ages with information on recreational rides, safety tips, and commuting skills while educating decision makers about the importance of bicycling to our communities. Learn more at www.bfw.org.

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Contacts
Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
(608) 251-4456
info@bfw.org
www.bfw.org

More from Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin:
Saris Event Huge Boost for Better Bicycling in Wisconsin
Bicycle Federation to Develop Active Prescription Program with New Grant
Bicycle Federation Launches On-Line Bicycle Route Finder
Badger State Trail and 91 Other Community Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects Go Unfunded

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