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Bicycling advocates hope new federal money will mean significant Wisconsin trail expansion

Route of the Badger map
Chuck Quirmbach
Bicycling advocate Brian Housh says the planned Route of the Badger in southeast Wisconsin is one of the recreational trails that could be helped by the additional trails money in Gov. Evers' proposed state budget.

Bicycling advocates are hoping to see a big financial boost for recreational trail development in Wisconsin.

That's due to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' proposed two-year state budget, which recommends spending about $18 million a year on trails. Most of that would be new money, from the federal bipartisan infrastructure law.

Typically, only about $7 million per year goes into Wisconsin walking and biking trails, under what's called the Transportation Alternatives Program. The rest of a $17.5 million pot of transportation money is usually diverted to roads.

Chuck Quirmbach's extended conversation with Rails to Trails.

Brian Housh, midwest policy manager of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, explains the budget math to WUWM's Chuck Quirmbach.

This month, Housh teamed with the Trek Bicycle Corporation and theWisconsin Bike Fed to lobby the Republican-controlled state Legislature to support the governor's plan.

Housh also says he backs an Evers proposal to financially help small communities with trail development, through a matching funds program. And, he likes an Evers proposal to spend $60 million on so-called traffic calming projects that, he says. would help bikers and pedestrians in urban areas.

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