If Delaware was California, the $5 million for bicycling voted by the General Assembly last Friday would scale to $200 million. So even though inflation means that $5 million in 2011 doesn’t have the buying power that $5 million had in, say, 1968, it’s still a lot of money (per capita) and a lot more than Delaware has ever allocated for bicycling before. (It’s also the first time Delaware has committed to making strategic investments in networks.)
And it’s critical to keep in mind that these state dollars can be used to leverage federal matching funds at a ratio of 4:1. So $5 million can bring in $20 million in federal matching funds. (And, if Delaware were California, the same per capita state investment could theoretically leverage $800 million in federal matching funds for a total of $1 billion (that’s billion with a “b”).
And from a jobs point-of-view, California would be well-advised to do exactly that. The most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the topic finds that bicycle infrastructure is (modestly) more effective at creating jobs per dollar spent than conventional roadway infrastructure projects. See study HERE.