State income tax receipts are down an average of 25% for the first quarter of 2009 compared with 2008. With such a large revenue loss facing the state budgets, there will be little hope that bicycle infrastructure projects will get funded.
This will delay the planned bicycle trips of many of the bicyclists that have been waiting for bike lanes and bike paths in order to go riding. The safety that would accrue to all cyclists when they started riding will also be delayed. Oh, the anguish!
Texas has tied in fourth place for the biggest gain/least loss of income tax revenue. We have tied with Alaska, Florida, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming- the six* states that have not imposed an income tax on it's citizens. Only Alabama, North Dakota and Utah have higher receipts this year over last.
Perhaps even worse news is that sales tax receipts have also fallen sharply, (Off 5.9% in May YoY for Texas) which will affect state budgets even more. City budgets are dependent on the twin streams of income- sales tax and property taxes- two more that are shrinking! Will the cities have enough wherewithal to sweep all the existing bike lanes?**
Will the advocates of new bicycle infrastructure projects be able to keep their jobs during this downturn? Without someone else's money to spend, will there be a reason to justify their salaries? Is there a future for bicycling its self? Or will bicycling slowly fade away, a curious phenomena that lasted a brief 125 years?
There are, however, a few strong and brave individuals that will sally forth into the traffic, unmindful of the lack of bicycle infrastructure! This hardy band of daredevils will take to the lanes and become a part of the traffic flow. So enamored are they with the joy of cycling, they will ride even with the predictions of mayhem from bicycle advocates ringing in their ears! Will these devil-may-care men and women*** survive the blight of bicycle lane production? We shall see.
*Thank you SteveA for correcting this point. I had overlooked Washington state, now corrected.
**The answer is no. They can't find the money to do that in a roaring economy, how could they fund it now?
***VC women are, as a group, lovelier and more fun to be around as well.