Sunday, April 13, 2008
Keep bike/ped money in transportation budget
Letter to the Editor
Burlington Free Press
April 13, 2007
In a recent letter ("Voice comments on bike plan," Feb. 3), I mentioned that the proposed Vermont transportation budget for the upcoming fiscal year cuts bike/ped funding 9 percent while increasing funding for aviation over 30 percent. It has been pointed out to me that this comparison is an unfair one because the huge increase for aviation primarily represents a one-time allocation from the federal government for the Burlington airport.
It wasn't my intention to single out aviation. I could have mentioned the 9 percent increase for safety and traffic or the 9 percent increase for transportation buildings. I simply wanted to question the decision to cut an appropriation for bike/ped when the administration claims that it is concerned about obesity, global warming, the cost of health care and the rising prices of fuel. Monies allocated to the state's bike/ped program pay for a variety of infrastructure improvements, including sidewalk installation and repair and bike path construction.
If the administration truly cares about the health of Vermonters, it should not be persisting with its plan to phase out funding for the state's bike/ped program. If you want the opportunity to walk on sidewalks that are in good shape and bicycle and run on dedicated bike paths, now is the time to contact your senators and representatives to tell them to restore the proposed bike/ped cuts. For updates on what's happening in the bike/ped community in Vermont, please visit www.vtbike ped.org.
The writer is executive director of Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition.