Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz sponsored a motion to spend $30 million dollars on 2 miles of bike path (report by the Chief Legislative Analyst – pdf), extending the beach bike path further north. That’s FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS per mile.
Resolution (Rosendahl – Koretz) to include in the City’s 2009-2010 Federal Legislative Program SPONSORSHIP and/or SUPPORT for legislation and/or administrative action to provide funding to extend the Marvin Braude Bike Path from Temescal Canyon Beach Parking Lot to Coastline Drive.
We all love to spend other people’s money, but this will mean less money for something else, and nevermind the fact that the State of California, and Federal Government of the United States are in terrible budget crises as well. Maybe less money for gang prevention, or less money for housing, or less money for worthy, effective, high impact bike projects. And believe me, if you’re evaluating projects at a federal level and you see $15 million for 2 miles of bike path, which is more costly than most roads, you’re going to reject the project and move on. That’s probably why this motion looks for legislation, since legislation is the best way to get approval for a $30,000 hammer.
Bike lanes cost $28,000 per mile, according to the City’s draft Bike Plan, so for $30 million dollars we would get just over 1000 miles of bike lane for the same price tag. Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz both sit on the LA City Council Budget & Finance Committee, and so they are intimately familiar with the City’s unexpected $200 million shortfall this year, and the expected deficit of $400 million next year.
So, would you rather have 1000 miles of bike lane in the city, connecting people to destinations they want to go to, or $30 million spent on a bike path into the hills of Malibu? Howabout $1.5 million spent on a real bike plan, or perhaps $150k a year to hire a top notch bike czar? Howabout $80k a year to go to bike theft, or $150k a year to go to outreach. Nope, so sorry, we don’t have the funds!
$30 million spent on a bike path is almost half what the city spent on bikes in the last 15 years, and it’s going to two miles! This is after cyclists have specifically expressed a preference for inner city infrastructure which gives an immense return on investment.
We’ve got a federal government that’s losing a trillion dollars a year, a state government on the verge of bankruptcy, a city government on the verge of bankruptcy – we cannot afford to spend money stupidly. This is a travesty, and I encourage you to call all city council persons and ask them to vote no on this motion. This is a huge failure by our leaders to set priorities appropriately.
(UPDATE: Some have pointed out that maybe the city can get federal money for this. Firstly, I doubt it – the County rejected the project in 1995, and I’m sure that CalTrans and the Feds also like to get something significant for their money. Secondly, is it responsible to be spending federal money on bike projects at a cost of $15 million per mile when the federal government has a gigantic deficit?)