I haven't seen this brought up for discussion, but I think it could have significant effect on bicycles, it could prohibit spending gasoline tax money on infrastructures to improve bicyclist. This is the only constitutional amendment that will appear on the ballot in the November election.
Read about the amendment:
The Tribune has taken a stand AGAINST the amendment:
From the state page about the amendment, one of the things it says is "Provides that any additional modes of transportation proposed for State funding shall have dedicated sources of funding." I'm no lawyer but it sounds to me like that's saying additional funding would need to be provided for alternate (bicycle) forms of transportation.
We take positions on everything else - this may be an issue we need to take a position on. Opposition should be brought up by the Active Transportation Alliance, and maybe the Mayor's Bicycle Advocacy Council should take a stand against this proposal.
I think this is a good amendment. It includes the provision: 'Other transportation' which should cover bicycles and sidewalks. Every road that is constructed with public funds has to meet Complete Streets design standards now anyways.
The one good point in the Tribune editorial mentioned is why do we need to make this an amendment? This should be common sense policy already.
Then let's make the amendment restrict ALL transportation spending to come from transportation related taxes. None of it can come from the general revenue fund supplied by other taxes.
As you suggest, pistola, let's just keep it out of the constitution. Spend the gas tax on something else when necessary and spend the something-else tax on roads, bridges, and tunnels when necessary and leave it up to the general assembly to decide this.
Too many limitations already in the constitution: pensions can't be reduced or impaired, income tax cannot be based on different income levels, etc. Take all of that out of the constitution but don't add another restriction.
Here is John Greenfield's latest take, from the Reader:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/transportation-lockbox-ballot-... . He now indicates that he's inclined to vote against it.
I've done a fair amount of reading about this, and, most importantly, have parsed the actual language of the proposed amendment. When conflicts develop and the courts inevitably interpret it, they won't be basing their decisions on what somebody told somebody, what somebody thought the amendment was about, or what rights somebody said it granted. They will base their interpretations on the language of the amendment. To cut to the chase: there is no legislative definition in any Illinois statute that includes bicycles within the category of "vehicles." There are vague references to funds being used for "transportation," which could conceivably include cycling-related items, but there is no specific definition and no guarantee that that would be the case. This amendment is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Under the guise of designating specific revenues to be used for transportation, it is actually a financial guarantee for contractors and others involved in the business of roadbuilding and maintenance. It was drafted by cronies for the benefit of cronies. Just like another amendment was slipped through preventing any action on pensions, this one would prevent the legislature from having the flexibility of where to spend these funds even in the case of fiscal emergency. And as we've learned, it's awfully hard to un-amend a constitution, even a state constitution. As cyclists, if you trust the politicians and construction industry interests who conceived and drafted this to represent your interests, then by all means go ahead and vote for it. I, for one, have no such trust. Zero. This is Illinois, remember? There is no need for this amendment. Its purpose is to lock in funds for politically-connected businesses. But if it is going to exist, it should clearly and unambiguously define bicycles (and even electric bicycles) as "vehicles" that provide "transportation."
Mr. Greenfield now says he's probably going to vote no. I say, make that a certainty. Vote against the Illinois Safe Contractors Amendment.
Wow. I'll definitely be voting "no".
Here's a new article explaining where the money behind this amendment came from:
The Safe Roads Amendment is absolutely nothing more than an effort by political and business interests to keep government money flowing into their pockets. And that's all that it's about. It has nothing to do with promoting good transportation policy or improving the lives of Illinois residents. It's about preventing anyone from slowing down or stopping dollars from being spent on roads. In no demonstrable way will this benefit cyclists or promote the recognition of cycling as a legitimate vehicular and transportation mode. Just look at the list of people who are behind it! The more I learn, the more I think groups like the Active Transportation Alliance failed to do a careful analysis before making their positive recommendations. Either that or they are awfully naive about Illinois politics. There is no need for this amendment, and it will become just one more millstone around the necks of all of us if it passes.
like I said....
Another opinion on the Safe Roads Amendment:
When looking at an amendment like this, it helps to put it into greater context. Illinois still hasn’t passed a State budget to fund services that are critical to people like education and healthcare. Because of the inability to do so, the sustainability of those services comes into jeopardy and emergency funds are needed to keep them operating.
So the next logical step may be to set up lock boxes for those services, so that they can have funds used for them as well, right?
In theory, that makes sense. Where that kind of logic falls apart is when one realizes that certain budget items have big influences behind them. In this case there are unions that want to make sure that they maintain their funding and they have the clout to make sure that they are not only holding on to those funds, but also receiving a substantial amount needed. They do this by applying pressure to politicians who work to appropriate funding. That is their right and it is understandable.
The problem arises in the fact that for services like education, their isn’t a similar force that can apply pressure because schools, by their very nature, aren’t based on profit. Therefore there is less power to influence politicians and less money provided. So while a transportation lock box may be robust with funding, the education lock box would be nearly empty in comparison.
Down with Motor Mania!
Yeah, and that was 1950. It's far crazier today!
Imagine my disappointment when this link was to a Goofy cartoon and not footage of the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, in concert!
We should keep track of how it affects cycling infrastructure, etc..