Howard County hopes to double use of bikeshare program in second year
This year, the bikes bore the Columbia based nonprofit the Horizon Foundation’s logo as the program’s “title sponsor.” Horizon Foundation’s funding will continue, but its time as title sponsor will end in the fall, according to Ayotte. Bewegen has yet to secure a new title sponsor for the program, but both Ayotte and Eatough said that will not change the program’s viability.
The county has pledged funding for the program for six years with a $747,000 budget, funded by both outside sponsorships and county dollars. Horizon Foundation is the program’s biggest financial contributor, having given $250,000 so far, with plans to fund $450,000 over three years.
Other community sponsors include the Columbia Maryland Philanthropy Network, Howard County General Hospital, Howard Hughes Corp., Howard Community College and General Growth Properties, owner of the Mall in Columbia. Together the community sponsors have funded $697,000 over six years and the county funded $50,000; revenue from memberships goes directly to Bewegen.
Horizon Foundation president and CEO Nikki Vernick said that in order for the program to fully grow in that time, the county still needs to become more walkable and bikeable.
The Horizon Foundation has been one of the most vocal proponents for more pedestrian connections and a completed bike network throughout the cou
nty. County Executive Allan Kittleman included $1.25 million in next year’s budget for bike infrastructure, which the foundation criticized as lacking compared to surrounding counties like Anne Arundel that gave $7.5 million in funds last year.
“Bikeshare is part of larger vision and we’re hoping that over the next five years we see more biking and walking infrastructure and policy in Howard County,” she said.
Source: Baltimore Sun