Since we submitted our petition to the Governor on the Administration’s bold proposal to enact a statewide Active Transportation Program, additional details have emerged from the February 1 trailer bill that have California WALKS and a coalition of active transportation, public health, and equity advocacy groups concerned. The budget trailer bill effectively reduces funding available for active transportation from $147 million/year in FY2012 to only $134 million/year at a time when Californians who walk and bike are fatally injured at more than twice the national average. And for Californians who walk–and make up nearly a quarter (22%) of all traffic fatalities in the state–such funding cuts could literally spell death. Cal WALKS Executive Director Wendy Alfsen says, “With over 7,000 people and 150 organizations in support of a transformational Active Transportation Program (ATP), we are committed to working with the Administration and the Legislature to ensure that the ATP lives up to its promise: to serve the current needs of Californians who walk and bike and for the health, safety, and equity of future generations to come.”
On top of this funding cut, the trailer bill repeals existing state programs (state Safe Routes to School (SR2S), Bicycle Transprotation Account, and Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program) before the new Active Transportation Program is even established! Because program guidelines and project selection criteria have yet to be developed for the new Active Transportation Program, this measure leaves cities and counties without any money for walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School projects for several years. Furthermore, the trailer bill subjects funding for the Active Transportation Program to the annual state budget appropriations process rather than the former mandated amounts–meaning in years to come when budget constraints are tighter, active transportation could simply be left out in the cold. Read our full analysis of the trailer bill’s shortcomings here.
California WALKS is working with the California Bicycle Coalition, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, TransForm, and a coalition of advocates to secure an amendment at upcoming budget hearings in Sacramento to correct the flaws in the trailer bill language. State Assembly and Senate Budget Committee Hearings on the Active Transportation Program will take place on Wednesday, March 13 at 9AM and Thursday, March 14 at 10AM.