If today you are lined up at the trough and the share of goodies that trickles down to your end is $2M or $3M dollars, well....if someone steps up and promises you $50M more, that sounds like a good deal. No?
Here's a tweet from today out of the Minnesota Bike Summit.
Let me help all of you from the bike summit with math. $50 million over the next ten years is $5 million per year. That's way more than you are getting now, but in a $10 billion increase in transportation funding, that's pretty pathetic.
In fact, it works out to about $5,900 per city per year (without the cost of the bureaucratic overhead). Here's that math:
$5,000,000/year / 852 cities = $5,870/city/year
Well, all those small cities won't get that much so mine will get more. Here's what these numbers look like per capita:
$5,000,000/year / 5,457,000 Minnesotans = $0.92 per year per Minnesotan
Congratulations. What a victory!
That means my home town of Brainerd would expect to get (before the administrative cost of having the money funneled through a huge bureaucracy) about $12,400 per year, or about one project per decade.
If you are in Minneapolis, you will get about $370,000 per year. This while the state spends nearly a billion per year on really low-returning investments, mostly auto-oriented stuff.
Oh, but Chuck, you don't understand. This money will change the conversation. It will encourage cities to move in the right direction. It's so much more than we are doing right now.
Bike and walking improvements are the highest returning investment a city can make. You keep propping up their stroad building budget and you can expect them to continue to pay lip service to bike/ped improvements -- just enough to get that grant -- and your needs will continue to not even be second class; they will be back with the luggage.
The best thing that could happen to biking and walking infrastructure is to defund the stroad machine completely. Pare back state and federal money to just maintenance of existing systems. Let bike/ped investments compete fairly in a municipal budget and they, along with transit, will be the clear winners.
After all, it's not going to be difficult to improve on victory when victory means a pathetic $0.92 per person.