Wow, just when you thought Gov. Crist liked bicycling and declared his backing for Bicycle Month in Florida comes this sucker punch from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee. My bike pal Jim Shirk sent this letter to me. Read on:
"I’m shocked at the irony, and hope you are too.
"Within weeks of the Florida Governor’s office proclaiming March as Bicycle Month and celebrating our trail victories, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) announced devastating cuts to the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), effectively eliminating this nationally renowned program.
"Act now to protect Florida’s greenways and trails.
"These cuts are excessive and disproportionate to FDEP’s other proposed cuts. While other FDEP program budgets are being cut 20 percent, this proposal would, among other things, eliminate more than 80 percent of OGT’s Tallahassee staff! In addition to rolling back the pro-trail clock 10 years, this measure risks nearly $50 million in hard-earned development money for Florida’s future trails.
"RTC understands that cuts are required, and should be fairly distributed. However, the OGT program reduces our dependence on oil, improves health, betters our environment and strengthens our communities. Eliminating it does far more harm than good, and for generations to come.
"Please speak up for trails now.
Ken Bryan, Florida State Director
P.S. Want another opportunity to advocate for bicycling? Join RTC and the Florida Bicycle Association at the Florida Bicycle Summit, April 2, 2009. Help begin a new era of bicycling and trails in Florida. We need you! Please register for this FREE event now."