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Old 07-07-05, 07:18 PM   #1
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TEA-21 Reauthorization Nears Finish Line; Your Help is Needed!

Dear Friends,

We are in the final sprint of the race to reauthorize TEA-21, and your help is needed to make sure that
your community – and the trails and greenways cause – emerge as winners.

From ISTEA in 1991 to TEA-21 in 1998, federal transportation laws have been increasingly helpful to the
creation and improvement of trails across the country. In TEA-21, $3.6 billion was provided for
Transportation Enhancements; many other programs such as Recreational Trails and CMAQ have also
contributed to supporting trail projects and other bicycle/pedestrian facilities.

But TEA-21 expired in 2003 and has since limped along through a series of extensions. Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy (RTC) has been working to protect the programs which have benefited us, while seeking
even better provisions in the next six-year transportation law. The process has been long and difficult,
but the end is in sight and there’s hope on the horizon. Speaker Hastert (R-IL) has announced that an
agreement was reached on funding levels for the bill that allows Senate and House conferees to wrap up
TEA-21 reauthorization. The race is on to the finish line, now set for July 19.

The House and Senate each passed bills in the spring, and conferees from the two chambers are currently
working out differences and crafting that final bill. Some programs, such as Transportation
Enhancements, appear to be safe. Other programs, such as Recreational Trails, have considerable
differences in funding levels between the two bills, while some important new initiatives, such as the
Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program, exist in one bill and not the other.

RTC wants Congress to adopt the “Best of Both Bills.” Here is a one-page document we have been
circulating on Capitol Hill: http://www.railtrails.org/whatwedo/p...both_bills.pdf

You’ll see that we highlight the programs which have significant differences between the two bills.
All are important to our community, and you can help us achieve our goals.

The clock is ticking, and here’s what you can do right now, while your Representatives and Senators
are home for a mid-summer recess:

-Read the one-page summary of the five programs at stake;

-Select one or more programs that you want to personally support;

-Contact your representative and your two senators by either:

-Calling the Capital Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121; or

-Finding local contact information at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov;

-Urge them to support your program for the good of your community.

from Keith Laughlin, President, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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Old 07-07-05, 07:51 PM   #2
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This is timely and a great cause; most of the "safe" rides I've enjoyed have been a part of RTC, most notably being the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I will be calling my senators' offices in the morning. Thank you for encouraging this.
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Old 07-07-05, 07:58 PM   #3
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- done deal down here on the pinellas peninsula... we're just waiting for the work to start...

- this is a good thing... saves lives and brings an alternative transport route to an area...
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Old 07-07-05, 09:31 PM   #4
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I hope the "Best of Both Bills" passes. Both of the senators from this state do not support the transportation bill, because Wisconsin becomes a "donor" state again.
The best of both worlds would be for Wisconsin to get what it pays in and TEA-21 passes.
But that's not going to happen. At least I can hope for TE.
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Old 07-08-05, 07:58 AM   #5
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How about lobbying for funds to..... rebuild the railroads so right-of-ways are used for what they were built for? Transporting goods and passangers. What a concept... trains.....
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Old 07-08-05, 08:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
How about lobbying for funds to..... rebuild the railroads so right-of-ways are used for what they were built for? Transporting goods and pass[e]ngers. What a concept... trains.....
We recently had our eyes on a 25-mile stretch of unused rail owned by Norfolk Southern in Durham, and
already had tentative plans drawn up for a RTT project. Norfolk Southern took this property off the market
last week, as a speculative measure to prepare for expanded freight service in the Raleigh/Durham metro area.

We also had plans for a light rail commuter line, but the federal gov't did not fund the project,
deciding instead to support a similar project in Charlotte. There just isn't enough money to go around.

I think any attempt at a multi-modal transportation system is worth the effort, and I support both RTT
actions, as well as what you mention - urban revitalization and 'infilling'. Both concepts can work
hand-in-glove, IMHO.

Last edited by * jack *; 07-08-05 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:47 AM   #7
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The problem with rails-to-trails is they never go the other way - trails back to rails.

The country's future transportation needs once fuel costs get high enough will force us full-circle and back to trolly/street car/subway/light rail in urban areas and interstate rail service for freight and passengers.

If all the exisiting rail right-of-ways have been converted to recreational trails with their entrenched lobbyist an supporters, it will be harder return them to a more usefull purpose.
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Old 07-10-05, 04:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
The problem with rails-to-trails is they never go the other way - trails back to rails.

The country's future transportation needs once fuel costs get high enough will force us full-circle and back to trolly/street car/subway/light rail in urban areas and interstate rail service for freight and passengers.

If all the exisiting rail right-of-ways have been converted to recreational trails with their entrenched lobbyist an supporters, it will be harder return them to a more usefull purpose.
You're right the trails will probably never come back to rails. But the rails to trails movement is only a small part of why that won't happen. It's the land owners themselves. Many rail/trails are not complete because many people who own land next to the rail lines want the land for themselves and don't want anyone else on it. I doubt they would ever sell it back the railroads.

Railroads only use lines that are profitable and abandon the rest. They won't want to even think about trying open any lines unless they're going to make a profit.
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Old 07-12-05, 09:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megaman
You're right the trails will probably never come back to rails. But the rails to trails movement is only a small part of why that won't happen. It's the land owners themselves. Many rail/trails are not complete because many people who own land next to the rail lines want the land for themselves and don't want anyone else on it. I doubt they would ever sell it back the railroads.

Railroads only use lines that are profitable and abandon the rest. They won't want to even think about trying open any lines unless they're going to make a profit.
Once a rail has been converted to trail, it could be ripe for imminant domain. For example in Pittsburgh they converted about 6 miles of rail to make the eliza furnace trail and duck hollow trails. Now that that is done, they are going t overlay the mon-fayette express way over that. It will take 20 years but it will happpen. They have even started with the tranists markers and spray paint.
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Old 07-12-05, 11:06 AM   #10
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Done! Just contacted my both sentators and my local rep.

I love the trails and we need more.
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Old 07-12-05, 12:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
If all the exisiting rail right-of-ways have been converted to recreational trails with their entrenched lobbyist an supporters, it will be harder return them to a more usefull purpose.
Not as hard as if the ROW's hard been sold off piecemeal to private land owners. At least with conversions to rec trails, the ROW's remain largely intact.
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Old 07-12-05, 12:24 PM   #12
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With the recent supreme court decision, Theoretically rail trails could be condemmned to make way for projects which generate more tax revenue I.e a shopping mall etc.Highway developments and other projects for the public good are no longer the only projects for which government can now use imminent domain .Private property can now be condemned if a piece of property could generate more tax revenue in another use.
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