Proposed budget cuts to walking and biking programs will affect opportunities for physical activity

Legislators will be meeting in May and June to start making decisions regarding the Wisconsin State Budget. Here's what you need to know:

The 2015-2017 proposed budget would:

  • Repeal Wisconsin's successful Complete Streets law. The law requires that bicyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed with state or federal funds. There are all manner of ways to get an exception if the project would be too expensive or if use by bikes and pedestrians is projected to be too light. The law works well in practice. Yet, the proposed budget would eliminate it altogether. This would mean many fewer safe places to bike.

  • Cut the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) by $2 million. The governor's proposed budget would eliminate all state support for this program, leaving only federal dollars. TAP is used for a variety of pro-biking initiatives, including bike plans and facilities, and Safe Routes to School Projects.

  • Essentially eliminate the Stewardship Fund. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund (named for iconic Republican Governor Warren Knowles and Democratic Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson) works to purchase and protect land for future generations. Funds for state trail purchases are included in the program. The governor's proposed budget would stop all purchases for over a decade.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can be involved in educating your community about the importance of these programs, please contact Jen gilchrist Walker at: gilchristwal@wisc.edu