• If Delaware Was California

    by  • July 4, 2011 • Walkable Bikeable Delaware • 0 Comments

    One Billion Dollars

    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.


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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