TEA-21 Reauthorization Nears Finish Line; Your Help is Needed!
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