How California’s “Prop. 68” Could Be a Big Win for Trails, Walking and Biking

Posted 04/16/18 by Andrew Dupuy in Policy, Building Trails

San Francisco Bay Trail in Fort Mason, California | Photo by Cindy Barks

Each election, California voters have the opportunity to make decisions on a number of policy issues through the state's robust ballot propositions (direct voter referenda) system, and this year, Californians have a chance to pull the lever for even more trail funding in the Golden State.

San Francisco Bay Trail in Tiburon, California I Photo by Cindy Barks
San Francisco Bay Trail in Tiburon, California I Photo by Cindy Barks

Although it’s not obvious from it's title, the Parks, Environment and Water Bondon this June's statewide ballot as Proposition 68, or “Prop. 68”includes major funding opportunities for trails, walking and biking. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been working behind the scenes with our partners in Sacramento for the past few years to ensure trails will benefit, and we’re encouraging all California voters to get out and vote yes in June on this long overdue $4 billion investment in parks, trails and clean, safe water.

Quick Facts About Proposition 68

Prop. 68, previously known as Senate Bill 5, passed by more than a two-thirds majority in each chamber (Assembly and Senate) of the California State Legislature and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown before heading to the ballot for final voter approval this June. This means that if voters pass Prop. 68 in June—it’s a done deal.

For those of you who aren’t up to speed, here what you need to know about California’s Prop. 68, and how it will benefit trails in several ways:

  1. Prop. 68 includes numerous sections where trails are eligible for funding, including a program that allocates $30 million for “Trails and Greenway Investment” and other nonmotorized transportation projects that promote access to parks and outdoor recreation.
  2. Prop. 68 also includes other sections for parks, outdoor access, rural recreation, tourism and economic development—within which trails and regional trail networks are eligible for funding. While we don't know the exact amount at this time, it could mean many millions of dollars for trails across California!
  3. As its name indicates, Prop. 68—the Parks, Environment and Water Bond—also creates significant investment in California’s drinking water and other water infrastructure, and in increasing park access, particularly in areas of high park need. This is critical in a time when the state is dealing with significant challenges related to droughts, wildfires, climate change and clean drinking water in impoverished communities. It's been 15 years since California voters have had a chance to support a statewide park bond.

Prop. 68 is endorsed by a wide range of health, business, labor, environmental, community and equity, animal rights, faith-based, agricultural and senior organizations—as well as California newspapers, elected officials, water agencies, municipalities, park districts and museums.

RTC is a voting member and supporter of the Committee for Clean Water, Natural Resources & Parks, a coalition supporting the measure, and we urge all eligible Californians to vote yes on 68 this June 5, for the future of California’s water, parks and—of course—trails!

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