Appleton’s FCCA Helps Get Attention for Budget Battles

Support is growing to reverse parts of Governor Scott Walker’s budget that throw Wisconsin into reverse on cycling policy and funding.

Over the weekend, in response to the Bike Fed’s call for action, the Fox Cities Cycling Association held a winter bike rally to support the Complete Streets program that Walker would repeal, restore $2 million in Transportation Alternatives Program funding that Walker would cut, and maintain the Stewardship Fund that Walker would freeze for thirteen years.

Having this kind of response from the Fox Valley is especially significant because that part of the state is so deeply Republican and the party controls the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature by wide margins. We simply can’t win these fights without some Republican support.

It’s also important because anything that we can do to shed light on these cuts will help us turn the tide. Before people can get involved they have to be aware of the problem. With so much attention going to the biggest issues in the budget, like the $300 million cut to the UW and changes to education funding, issues related to biking might not make it to the top of the newscast or to the front page of the paper.

But we’re confident that when people know what could be lost they’ll want to do everything they can to reverse course.

Fox Cities residents are not letting politics slow them down when it comes to making their community a better place to live and more attractive to visitors either. They are moving forward with plans to develop a wonderful new Twin Trestle Trail that could end up on the bucket list of cyclists from around the state.

Image from the Appleton Post Crescent

This story in the Appleton Post Crescent details the concept, which would involve building a couple trestle bridges across the Fox River to complete an incredibly scenic 3.2 mile trail that loops around the southern half of Little Lake Butte des Morts.

“This would really put us on the map as a destination for bicyclists,” said Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert, who has made the project one of his priorities. “There is a lot of potential there.”

We couldn’t agree more and it is wonderful to see how local residents in the Fox Cities area are advocating for bicycling in their community and our state. Please consider writing a letter to the editor, posting on your Facebook page or other social media or maybe even, like the FCCA, holding your own local rally and invite the media. Even more important, don’t let state politics keep you from working to make your community a better place to ride a bike.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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