Proposed Cuts to Capital Budget Would Decimate Projects to Make Walking and Biking Safer and Easier
Yesterday, three members of the Howard County Council announced a budget amendment that would cut millions from the proposed FY 2021 capital budget. Included in these cuts are numerous projects that would have improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Today, Streets for All, a coalition advocating for complete streets in Howard County, released a statement in response.
“The draconian capital budget amendments proposed by Council members Jung, Walsh and Yungmann will set Howard County back for years when it comes to safer walking, biking and driving. The cuts include nearly $4.5 million in funding for projects to improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure, which is more than half of the funding requested by County Executive Calvin Ball. In addition, proposed cuts to road resurfacing projects that are critical for bike improvements brings the total number of cuts to our infrastructure to $9 million.
If passed, these cuts will end or significantly delay projects designed to repair deadly, unsafe intersections, make it safer for children to walk or bike to school, enable people with disabilities to use sidewalks and help all of us be more connected to our community. If enacted, these cuts will disproportionately harm low-income populations, people of color, seniors and people with disabilities. They would also decimate our walkways, bikeways and streets at a time when so many of us are relying on them for physical activity and to get to essential businesses.
We’re saddened that these Council members would propose cutting projects that would improve public health in the middle of a pandemic – and worse yet, that they view safer walking, biking and strolling as expendable budget line items. We know that these are challenging times, but we should not be cutting the budget on the backs of members of our community being hit the hardest right now. No matter where you live in Howard County, this should concern you.
Creating opportunities for all members of our community to bike, walk and get to where they need to go safely and easily is more important than ever. We urge the Council to reconsider and reject these harmful cuts.”
Here is the article about the proposed amendments to the FY21 budget: Council Members Yungmann, Jung and Walsh Advance Amendments to reduce the FY21 Capital and Operating Budgets
There is a Council Work Session scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00pm where the council members will be discussing the proposed budget amendments…I am betting it will be interesting.