Last month, Governor Hickenlooper promised a $100 million investment to make Colorado the best state for biking. Does that really make Colorado the best, or is Washington state still tops?
At last month’s national bike trade show, Interbike, Colorado’s Governor did this:
Hickenlooper promises $100 million to make Colorado “the best state for biking” in the country http://t.co/ZuK8uLjeA7
— colorado.gov (@coloradogov) September 18, 2015
Governor Hickenlooper said, “I think being the best biking state is going to fuel economic growth and tourism. It’s going to lead us toward a cleaner environment, and it’s going to help us be the healthiest state in America.”
Washington Bikes couldn’t agree more. The data is overwhelming and shows the clear economic, safety, and health benefits to more and better biking and walking. Annually $3.1 billion is spent by bicycle riders in Washington state. More physical activity makes us healthier and is a no-brainer. It’s why organizations like American Heart Association and Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition partner with Washington Bikes to get more children biking and walking to their schools.
So will $100 million over four years for biking and walking investments, or $25 million per year, sweep Colorado past a state like Washington and its number one Bicycle Friendly State ranking, according to the League of American Bicyclists?
It’s a great start, but no, Colorado has some more work to catch up to the new investments Washington state is making in safety, health, and economic development.
That’s because the 2015 State Legislative Session took Washington state to new highs and added to existing investment programs for safer streets and healthier children. Consider the following:
- Over the next four years Washington state will invest $90 million from its transportation budget in biking, walking and school safety – very close to the $100 million promised by Colorado’s chief executive.
- Also, the Washington State Capital Budget invested $15.6 million for trails statewide over the next two years.
- Finally, Washington state investments in safer, healthier, and more economically prosperous streets will be bolstered as the legislature’s transportation spending package instructed the Transportation Improvement Board to administer $106 million over 16-years (almost $18 million in the coming four years) for the finally funded Complete Streets Grant Program.
All told, over the next four years Washington state leaders have committed approximately $123 million to school safety, trails, and complete streets. This represents forward progress to provide taxpayers more economic return from their transportation investments than ever before.
Washington’s $123 million for school safety, trails, and complete streets makes the state one of the clear leaders (still behind Massachusetts’s 5-year $425 million investment for biking, walking, and complete streets) in smart investments that provide more Washingtonians more freedom to get where they want to go safely and easily.
Join Washington Bikes to carry the momentum forward for better transportation investments that grow local economies and make children and neighbors safer every day.