Monday, March 1, 2010

Response to funding cuts from Supervisor McKay

Lee District Supervisor McKay is a cyclist who has supported bicycling in Fairfax by sponsoring the Tour de Lee, encouraging kids to walk and bike to school, and offering a motion for the Board of Supervisors to endorse the concept of the Bicycle Master Plan, which was passed unanimously by the Board. Below is his response to letters requesting that funds be restored to the bike program.

He notes that there will be funds from the Commercial & Industrial tax administered by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and passed to the county for funding transportation projects, including bike projects. He also notes that the bike coordinator position will remain. However, there will be no operating funds for the program to support activities like Bike to Work Day or to fund the countywide bicycle master plan. It will be difficult to have an effective bike program without those funds, which the county executive says will be permanently cut.

Supervisor McKay's response:
Thank you for letting me know your concerns about the future of the County's bicycle program in light of the funding cuts in the County Executive's proposed FY2011 budget.

As a longtime cyclist myself, I hate to see any cutbacks that would slow the progress we've made in bicycle and pedestrian initiatives. I believe the County Executive's proposed budget recognizes the Board's commitment to bicycling as a transportation alternative and makes the
best of a difficult financial situation. While he proposes to remove $213,641 in operational funding, he retains the staff position associated with the program.

The staff person will continue to serve as the point of contact for bicycle related issues, work on acquiring grant funding for bicycle programming, provide input on incorporating bicycles into capital roadway projects, and oversee the $5 million or so in commercial and industrial (C&I) tax funds for bicycle-related improvements.

Given our severe budget situation, I believe that this is prudent. We are keeping the infrastructure, institutional knowledge, and staff so that once we come out of this economic slump we will be able to relaunch our full bicycle initiative.

Jeffrey C. McKay
Lee District Supervisor

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