For the second election cycle in a row the Bike Fed has emailed a survey to every candidate for the state legislature. We’re asking them if they’ll support funding for bicycle trails and other infrastructure, restoration of our complete streets law, the vulnerable users law, a bike tax and more.
We’ll give the candidates about ten days to respond and then we’ll make their answers available to you on a website we’ve created just for the purpose called, Vote Bike.
We know that, as a citizen, you’re concerned about a lot of issues. But if cycling is one important aspect of your life, than a candidate’s positions on issues related to your safety and enjoyment are important. We want to provide you with more information so that you can make an informed choice.
With early voting already open and election day coming up fast on November 8th, now’s the time to get fully engaged. You’ve no doubt heard a lot about the presidential race, but the truth is that the things that matter most to us as cyclists are decided at the state and local level. That’s where the bike trails get built and the pot holes get filled.
For now, you can visit VoteSmart.org to get information on who the candidates are in your area and how to contact them. We ask you to contact them and urge them to complete our survey.
Here are the questions that we’re asking:
1. Minnesota was one of only four states to reduce its obesity rate this year. Officials there attributed the decline to their Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Launched in 2008, the program makes grants of about $20 million per year for evidence-based healthy living projects at the local level. Studies suggest that if Minnesotans reduced their average body fat index by just 5% the state would save over $4 billion in health costs over ten years. Would you support a Wisconsin version of Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Program?
Yes / No
2. States and local governments across the nation are adopting “complete streets” policies, which require that cyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed. Yet, last session Wisconsin became the only state to essentially repeal such a policy even though the Legislative Fiscal Bureau found that the program cost the state only .006% of the transportation budget. Would you support restoring Wisconsin’s complete streets law?
Yes / No
3. Under current law if a driver kills or injures a cyclist, or other “vulnerable user” like a person driving farm equipment or a police officer writing a ticket at the side of a road, due to inattentive driving that driver is subject to a simple fine of a few hundred dollars. Under a vulnerable users law those penalties would be increased to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or nine months in jail. Would you support such a law?
Yes / No
4. A recent study found that cycling contributes $1.5 billion to Wisconsin’s economy and supports 14,000 jobs. Would you support a bill recognizing the industry by making cycling Wisconsin’s official state exercise?
Yes / No
5. The DNR, DOT and the Wisconsin Bike Fed recently completed a joint study to create a numbered statewide bikeway system. In principle (no price tag is available yet) would you support funding to implement the system over a period of a decade?
Yes / No
6. Wisconsin’s entire system of 2,500 miles of state trails is funded at only $1 million annually. Would you support an increase in this funding to extend, resurface and pave multi-use trails?
Yes / No
7. The Transportation Alternatives Program is a federal program administered by the state DOT to assist local governments in planning or building projects primarily for cyclists and pedestrians and for transportation related improvements like streetscaping and preservation of historic transportation structures. In the latest round of TAP funding awards totaling $15.2 million were made to 33 communities out of a pool of 69 communities proposing a total of $35.7 million in eligible projects. Unlike other states, Wisconsin’s policy has been to “flex” the maximum amount out of the TAP program for use in the general transportation fund – essentially reducing the amount available for TAP projects by the maximum 50% allowed under federal law. Would you support a policy of using 100% of the TAP funds as intended for pedestrian, bike and other transportation enhancement projects?
Yes / No
8. Studies show that societal costs of driving (road repair and maintenance, parking facilities, air pollution, etc.) are about 29 cents per mile while societal costs of riding a bike are less than one cent per mile. In other words, car trips supplanted by bike trips save money for society and taxpayers. Yet, some policy makers insist that cyclists don’t pay their way and they want to tax bicycle riders. Would you oppose attempts to tax cyclists?
I would oppose a bike tax / I support a bike tax
9. There will be a proposal in the next session to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation with a mandate to lead efforts to recruit businesses in the outdoor industry to make Wisconsin their home. Would you support such a proposal?
Yes / No
10. Governor Walker has proposed a transportation budget with no tax increases, less borrowing and more resources for maintenance of state highways and for local roads, but he would delay some major highway projects. From a cycling perspective, maintenance and investments in local roads are important because that’s where most cyclists ride. What is your position on the governor’s proposed budget?
I support it as proposed / I support the increases in maintenance and local roads, but also oppose delays in major projects / I have another position. Please explain below.