From the Florida Bicycle Association’s news wire:
We envision a state where people of all ages see bicycling as an enjoyable, practical and safe activity and transportation option, and where all who lawfully use the roadways, motorists and bicyclists alike, respect and appreciate each other’s use.
We inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.
Strength lies in numbers and every voice counts towards making Florida a bicycle-friendly community. Better bicycling means a better Florida.
SPEAK UP FOR FLORIDA’S CYCLISTS, PEDESTRIANS AND TRAIL USERS!
Just as Florida’s cyclists, pedestrians, and recreational trail users are making headway in terms of how much is spent to improve conditions, we now face the real possibility of a significant hit in funding.
A provision of a $26 billion Federal Jobs Bill includes $6.7 billion in rescissions, of which $2.2 billion will come from transportation funds. The fact that there is no requirement for equity when determining where cuts come from has resulted in Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) proposing a formula that will result in a significantly disproportional impact on funds for non-motorized projects in our state.
Specifically, $24.7 million from Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds and $3 million from Recreational Trails Program (RTP), figures that represent approximately one-third of monies that would be used for non-motorized projects since Florida historically under-utilizes funds that are available for bike/ped/trails improvements. As compared to a 0.1% overall cut to traditional road projects, this decision by FDOT can only be deemed reprehensible.
Please speak up for TE and RTP to Governor Crist, gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink and Rick Scott, Florida State Transportation Development Administrator Brad Thoburn and FDOT Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development Debbie Hunt.
Florida’s office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has made it easy for you to speak up.
It’s typical of a state like Florida to strip funding away from many shovel-ready bicycle/pedestrian-friendly projects to cover budget shortfalls, all the while keeping motorists happy by maintaining road funding. I suppose the folks at the FDOT haven’t read the news that Florida is a pretty dangerous place to use a bicycle or your feet for transportation, and they don’t seem to care about improving the odds for those that do. I’m sure this federal rescission order is impacting more than just the people of Florida, though, so if you live elsewhere, contact the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy to see if a similar mechanism is set up to help you contact YOUR elected officials.