Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SWFBUD Asks Senate Committee To Not Cut Trails Office

SWFBUD sent this letter today to:

Chair: Senator Carey Baker (R) -- baker.carey.web@flsenate.gov
Vice Chair: Senator Alfred "Al" Lawson, Jr. (D) -- lawson.alfred.web@flsenate.gov (last year Senator Lawson made a proposal that saved OGT)
Senator Dave Aronberg (D) -- aronberg.dave.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Charles S. "Charlie" Dean, Sr. (R) -- dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Steve Oelrich (R) -- oelrich.steve.web@flsenate.gov

Dear members of Senate General Government Appropriations Committee,

My name is Alan Snel and I just returned from the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., where more than 725 bicycle leaders from around the country met to grow bicycling in our country and meet our local congressional members. There is a bicycle movement in the U.S. as more and more people realize that getting around by bicycle is a great source of exercise and transportation. That's why I am asking you to reject a proposal to eliminate the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails and merge its functions with the state park system.

The elimination of the 16 positions that run the Greenways and Trails program would essentially kill one of the shining stars of Florida’s recreation and tourism businesses, all to save $1 million. The Greenways and Trails system receives 4 million visitors a year in Florida and has an economic impact of $95 million a year. This program cannot run without a staff and this small investment is yielding strong returns on our investment.

Florida led the nation in bicyclist deaths in 2008, and we need infrastructure to safely accommodate the increasing numbers of bicyclists in Florida. In addition, the U.S. and its Transportation Secretary are focused on alternative forms of transportation and on more healthy lifestyles to fight obesity, Florida would be eliminating one of its most successful programs to make progress on both those fronts.

The residents and visitors of Florida consider the greenways and trails important to the quality of life here and what brings visitors back each year. I urge you to make smart economic decisions when you make budget cuts, and this proposal is not one of them. This office actually brings in revenues to the state. Please do not eliminate the Office of Greenways and Trails.


Alan Snel
Director of nationally-recognized SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers
9 Tampa Bay bicycle stores and 2 lawyers committed to getting more people on bikes
Home of the award-winning Bicycle Bash festival

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