Santa Monica Bike Share program should be funded by cap and trade funds, not corporate advertising

Subject: 8-A: Award of Contract for Bikeshare Installation, Launch and Operations and Related Program Policy Direction

Dear Councilmembers

I fully support the goals of the proposed bikeshare program and the choice of CycleHop as the operator. However I have strong concerns about the corporate advertising/sponsorship funding mechanism.

The nexus to fund bike expansion should be from true-cost pricing eco-taxes upon fossil fuels, not commodifying/monetizing public space through corporate advertising/sponsorship.

I understand that in the short term, this corporate advertising/sponsorship appears as the only available funding mechanism, and that other cities are already doing it this way.

But Santa Monica is not another city. We should be setting an example about using the right nexus to fund the right program, and not allow the pursuit of one good - bike sharing programs - to be at the expense of a bad - commercializing public spaces, and thereby also forcing those choices upon consumers of bike sharing.  In other words, with this funding mechanism, not only do we use public property for private gain, but we force everyone who wants to utilize these bikes to become an advertisement for a commercial entity, or else they are not be able to ride. That's not a choice we should be imposing upon our community.

That is why I believe you should condition your approval tonight upon giving staff direction to lobby for future funding alternatives for bike sharing programs in Santa Monica and across the state, to (1) come from cap and trade funds, where there is a clear nexus with fossil fuels use and (2) to come from future tax increment zones along rail corridors (like the Expo line), where communities can capture some of the gentrifying land value generated by transportation-related public investment and use that to expand non-fossil fuel related transportation options like bikes, which can also be used to connect people to the rail use.

Thank you for your consideration of these ideas,

Mike Feinstein

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