It is pretty hard to be away from Wisconsin right now. Fight the power, I’ll be back to join you all in a day or so.
Yesterday was issue day at the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit. Attendees had about a dozen different sessions to choose from to learn about everything from federal funding to mountain biking. I attended a very wonky federal funding session, where I learned enough to make me worry about some Transportation Enhancement grants for which the Project Agreements (notice the funds have been obligated) are long overdue. Then I attended an inspiring session about how Omaha, Nebraska has managed to get tremendous corporate support for bicycling. People in the audience from Columbus, OH said they have had similar success. Those are two programs I am definitely going to look into in greater detail. It sounds a bit like our fledgling MB3 (Milwaukee Business By Bike) organization.
I also met with Charlie Denny from Alta Planning + Design. Charlie manages the Capital Bikeshare program here in Washington, DC. Alta has a bike share division, creatively titled Alta Bike Share. They have an exclusive contract to wori the the Public Bike System (Bixi) systems out of Montreal, Canada. Gian-Carlo Crivello, Director of Business Development for Bixi was also in the meeting. We discussed the various options and benefits of the Public Bike system with a possible eye to a pilot program in Milwaukee. I will post more details about what I learned in that meeting when I have more time after I get back to Milwaukee.
After that, it was time for all the state delegations to get together to plan their meeting schedules on the Hill tomorrow. Wisconsin got together after the general assembly. We are mostly old pros at this, so we have it pretty dialed in. My first meeting is with Senator Heb Kohl tomorrow morning. I will meet with Rep. Gwenn Moore later that day. Other members of the Wisconsin delegation will meet with their representatives as well. We have both constituents, industry representatives and bike shop owners in our group. Since there is no transportation funding bill currently under consideration, our as is that the Senators and Representatives maintain funding for the bike programs like Transportation Enhancements, CMAQ and the Recreational Trail Program.