Last week I wrote about the large and immediate cut to pedestrian and bike greenway funding in the NC Senate’s version of the budget. Well that budget cut is still in the final version. It’s delayed for some current projects, but puts NC on the road (not bikeway) to funding elimination. Some folks who have contacted their Senators are getting the usual attempt-to-confuse-the-issue answers from their representatives. The particular line is the old unpopular budget cutter’s saw, “flexibility.” As in: “Oh, we are giving cities flexibility to fund greenways out of other pots of money, so this really isn’t a cut that hurts.” Well, there is a cut, it is to greenways, and it will mean less money for building stuff other than roads.
Don’t believe me? Look at NC Senator Apodaca’s quote in Bruce Siceloff’s N+O story yesterday. I’d say it about sums it up:
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a Chapel Hill Democrat, criticized the bill for not giving higher priority to passenger trains and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. It was amended this week to protect money for greenways and other bicycle-pedestrian projects scheduled through 2015, but no state funds will be allowed after that.
Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, said he hoped the new law would improve prospects for widening a neglected section of Interstate 26 west of Asheville.
“We’ve had the old system, and it hasn’t helped,” Apodaca said. “You know I would love to be able to have a greenway between Asheville and Hendersonville, and ride a bicycle, and take a train. But right now I’d rather be able to drive between Asheville and Hendersonville. Hopefully this might give us a little light at the end of the tunnel.” [Emphasis added.]