VICTORY FOR CYCLING: Delaware General Assembly Votes $13.25 Million for Walking and Bicycling
Senator Robert Venables (left), Governor Jack Markell (center) and Representative Helene Keeley (right)
Ironically, the unanimous vote in the Delaware Senate at around 8PM came just a little more than 24 hours after the United States Congress voted to eliminate the main federal programs for walking and bicycling. As there was not enough time to amend the bill, Delaware’s capital budget also still includes authorization for a state contribution (a much smaller sum of $388,000) to the Transportation Enhancements program, even though that program now no longer exists.
Governor Jack Markell, Senator Robert Venables (D-Laurel) and Representative Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington) all played key leadership roles in this victory for walking and bicycling. Senator Venables was recognized last year as the 2011 Bike Friendly Elected Official for his leadership.
John Hollis of Sussex Outdoors and Nemours Health and Prevention Services. ”These nationally recognized improvements will give all Delawareans opportunities for a healthier lifestyle through walkability and bikeability.”
Calling last night’s vote an “historic accomplishment”, Bike Delaware Vice President Bill Osborne said it “would not have been possible without the confluence of several independent forces. First and foremost is the vision and leadership in both the Executive and Legislative branches of Delaware. Add to that the passion and commitment of the consumers/constituents who evidenced their support. Plus we had the essential benefit of an improved economic forecast that made this a decision of inclusion rather than substitution.”
The $13.25 million total commitment by the state is made of up two separate line items, $10.25 million in the Delaware of Transportation and $3 million in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Both Departments are cooperating to create an interconnected network of shared-use trails and pathways that will support non-motorized travel and recreation opportunities for Delawareans and visitors.