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Rails to Trails political landscape

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Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 657
Location: Sexy Lexi on the Southside

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Rails to Trails political landscape Reply with quote

Please read the following attachment shared by Mike Galbraith

Dear Campaign Advocate,

As you may imagine, the election results are already having a profound impact on the debate over reauthorization of federal transportation policy.

Decades-long cycling champion and current chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—James Oberstar (D-Minn.)—lost his Congressional seat, costing our movement a passionate and knowledgeable transportation leader. As Republicans assume control of the House, John Mica (R-Fla.) is set to become the next committee chair, and Nick Rahall (D-W.V.) will be the ranking member of the committee.

Fiscal constraint is the clear backdrop to the forthcoming transportation reauthorization debate. There are ominous warning signs that we face a concerted effort to eliminate core federal bicycling and walking programs. We are working diligently to gather further intelligence and devise strategies and will soon provide an update on next steps for our Campaign for Active Transportation. Please stay tuned.

One key argument I expect will gain significant traction in the new Congress will be the idea of a user-fee funded transportation system. In other words, instead of using gas taxes to develop balanced transportation systems that best meet the needs of communities, some seek to turn back the clock decades to a time when gas taxes were limited solely to providing roads and highways for automobiles. If this view takes root, it would effectively eliminate sources of funding for trails, walking and bicycling that have been the lifeblood of our movement. Transit funding also would suffer.

Such a backward-looking mentality was recently advanced by AAA, which is using the credibility of their enormous membership to sway decision-makers to take a position that most of their members find objectionable. To send a message that such an approach is unwise and unacceptable, RTC initiated a campaign asking AAA to join America’s transportation future.

This campaign has proven wildly successful, with tens of thousands of Americans from around the country—many of whom are AAA members—calling on AAA National to support continuation of crucial bicycling and walking programs funded by federal gas taxes.

I need your help now. We are preparing to deliver names to AAA of those who have signed the petition. As active transportation leaders in your communities, you likely have access to e-mail lists and networks through which word of our campaign can be spread. We need to maximize the number of petitioners to demonstrate the popularity and importance of continued federal investment in walking and bicycling.

Will you please spread the word by Monday, December 6, to your colleagues, e-mail lists, and Facebook and Twitter followers, and ask them to visit www.railstotrails.org/AAA?

Thank you for your support,

Kevin Mills
Vice President of Policy
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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