The mayor’s proposed budget, which includes funding for pedestrian projects through additional parking fees and taxes, is being reworked by the City Council. PubliCola covered the council’s discussion and decisions to reject funding for these projects.
The council agreed to raise parking rates, but not as high as the mayor had requested, and without parking fees on Sunday. The council also agreed to raise the commercial parking tax, but not nearly as high as the mayor had requested. The decisions by the council were not unanimous and some council members fought for maintaining the Walk Bike Ride program funding in the budget:
“If we accept these cuts, we will be pushing back [the pedestrian and bike master plans] even further,” Licata said. “I would encourage council members to think again about whether the [parking tax] could be nudged up a bit to take into account some of these really pressing needs.” O’Brien added that viewed in the context of a $300 million-plus transportation budget, the $20 million proposed for pedestrian and biking programs “is really just a drop in the bucket. … It’s hard to tell the public that these are our top priorities.”
After the council agreed to cut the commercial parking tax, the mayor released a list of projects that would have to be cut. Funding for the pedestrian master plan would be totally cut, as well as for the complete streets program, and red light cameras, along with numerous other transportation projects and services.