Joint Statement from Bike HoCo & Horizon Foundation: County Executive’s Plan Signals Promise; Higher County Funding Essential to Success
Yesterday, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced a plan to put $8 million in county and grant funding over the next three years to improve 48 miles of bicycle infrastructure as part of its “BikeHoward Express” plan. The Horizon Foundation and Bicycling Advocates of Howard County issued the following joint statement in response to the plan:
The County Executive’s announcement to invest $8 million over three years to improve biking by building the “BikeHoward Express” is an encouraging commitment. For too long, Howard County has underinvested in bike routes, putting us far behind our neighbors like Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County.
We are pleased that this plan is highly similar to the Bikeway, which we proposed and advocated for. It contains important routes, and by increasing and connecting safe spaces to bike, it will better connect residents with schools, transportation hubs and workplaces. We are pleased to see the administration commit to an ambitious short-term goal. We are proud of local advocates and organizations for elevating and advancing the issue of bicycling in Howard County.
We look forward to seeing the County’s Executive’s commitment in action in his next budget. The funding level included in the upcoming budget, to be released in the spring, will signify the County’s down payment on its promise to build the mileage and connections needed to make biking easier and safer in Howard County. Much work remains to ensure that the County’s plan lives up to its promise as “the greatest financial investment ever made in bicycle infrastructure in Howard County.”
Last year’s budget allotted $600,000 in county funding toward Bike Master Plan projects, compared to $26 million budgeted by Montgomery County for bicycle improvements and $7.5 million by Arundel County. To reach an $8 million goal and fulfill its commitment, the county will need to substantially increase its investment.
More than 1,500 people and 30 businesses and community institutions have called on Howard County to increase its funding for 10 percent of projects in the Bike Master Plan that make up the Bikeway. This effort, led by the Horizon Foundation and Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, has demonstrated the widespread support for increased bicycle funding with the goal of creating a more bikeable, walkable community.
We are heartened to see Howard County move one step closer to this vision.
The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at www.thehorizonfoundation.org.
The Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (BAHC) is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization founded in 2008 as a coalition of cycling clubs and bicycle riders in Howard County, Maryland. BAHC advocates to improve the visibility and safety of bicycling, supports bicycling education programs for adults and children, and promotes a vision of bicycling and sharing the road as part of a healthy, energy efficient, and environmentally sound transportation system to help achieve a sustainable future for Howard County and for Maryland. Learn more at www.bikehoco.org.