Preserve Safe Options for Biking and Walking

mug_fred_risserBicycling, walking, and other healthy activates are very popular throughout the state. Safe and accessible bikeways and pedestrian ways are vital to thriving local communities and bicycling is important to Wisconsin’s tourism industry and economy overall.

Bicycling produces a $1.9 billion economic impact to the Wisconsin economy and is responsible for more than 13,000 jobs.

Two programs, Complete Streets and the Transportation Alternatives Program are vital components to safe and accessible options for bicyclists and pedestrians in our state and local communities. Unfortunately, Governor Walker has targeted Complete Streets for elimination in his budget bill and is proposing to eliminate all state funding for the Transpiration Alternatives Program, leaving the program with minimal federal funding.

Complete Streets was enacted into as part of the 200911 biennial budget bill. I was successful in inserting this program in that budget. Complete Streets provides that our state’s Department of Transportation ensure that bikeways and pedestrian ways be taken into account, when feasible, in all new highway construction and reconstruction projects funded from state or federal funds.

The Transportation Alternatives Program is one of the few programs to help fund projects for cycling and walking. It is the main source of funding for local pedestrian and bicycle projects. TAP helps fund infrastructurerelated projects and systems that provide safe routes to school for children, for older adults, for individuals with disabilities to access daily needs, and for all of us who wish to bike or walk to our destinations.

Safe, comfortable, and convenient access to community destinations and public places should be available to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or income, whether that be driving, bicycling, or walking. An avid biker myself, I will be working during our budget debate to preserve Wisconsin’s Complete Streets Law and restore state funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program.

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