Badgering for bike trails in Wisconsin and Alabama

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Bicycle trail advocates in Wisconsin and Alabama are pushing for more funding this week to complete trails in their states.

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin says the 40-mile Badger State Trail from Madison to the Illinois state line should lead priorities for funding, instead of that money going to highway construction projects.

In spite of a $5.8 billion transportation budget for 2005-2007, the state Legislature has cut 70 percent from the bicycle fund, leaving 92 such projects in the state unfunded, reported the Capital Times.

Badger Trail

The biggest of those unfunded projects is the Badger State Trail (map). While the route through Madison is paved, the rest of the trail is awaiting attention. It is open to hiking, but the trail needs resurfacing with crushed limestone or asphalt.

The Badger is a backbone to other Wisconsin trails that intersect it. The Badger trail connects to the Capital City, Military Ridge, and Sugar River state trails. It also connects to the Jane Addams trail that crosses the border into Illinois and the 500-mile Grand Illinois Trail that uses rural roads and paved paths in northern Illinois.

For current conditions and updates on resurfacing the Badger State Trail, see the Wisconsin DNR website. For details on the Wisconsin transportation funding snafu, see the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin blog.

Slow to act

Meanwhile, Decatur, Alabama, Mayor Don Kyle is scrambling to recover money for a 7-mile bike path that was lost after the the city didn't act fast enough to spend it.

The city can reapply for another state grant, but Kyle said that will cost time and money. Apparently the city lost the money while it tried to coordinate design for two sections.

(Update: Oct. 17, 2006 — Decatur approves a separate $350,000 bike trail extension about three weeks ahead of deadline)

Photo: A 980-foot-long, 120-year-old tunnel of the Badger State Trail.

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