Trail Killing Provision Now Up to Walker

One person who doesn’t like bikes.

That’s all it would take to stop a bike trail or even a sidewalk from being built.

In an item slipped into the state budget without debate, state and local governments could not use eminent domain to build trails, bike lanes or sidewalks. That means one landowner could refuse to sell a small strip of right-of-way and an entire project could be held up, made more expensive or scrapped altogether.

We’ve alerted local governments around the state and they’ve told us that while they rarely need to condemn land, not having that option could make projects untenable. In addition, because the language includes sidewalks it could even stop road widening projects where existing sidewalks simply need to be moved. That’s right. This amendment could result in bike lanes and sidewalks that currently exist being eliminated in the future.

To add insult to injury, this change was buried in a late night budget amendment as one item in a long amendment. There was no debate, no chance to ask questions. We don’t know what prompted it or even which legislator wanted it.

It’s bad public policy and horrible process.

Our efforts to get this removed from the budget were not successful in either house of the legislature. Republicans voted along party lines in favor of this amendment and against cyclists and pedestrians.

Now our last hope lies with Governor Scott Walker who has it in his power to line item veto this provision from the budget.

Please contact the governor today. Ask him to veto the trails and sidewalks eminent domain provision.

Thank you!

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

One thought on “Trail Killing Provision Now Up to Walker

  1. I sent the Governor a letter. I will let you know if I get more than the form reply telling me the office received my message.

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