Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Save Our Rail Trail!...PRESS RELEASE...Politcal Action Needed

Discouraging Update

Unfortunately, by a vote of 27 to 29, the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee just moments ago voted down the bipartisan Petri/Johnson/Lipinski amendment that would have fixed many of the deficiencies in the House transportation bill, particularly as they relate to the Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School programs. The amendment would have also restored eligibility of rail-trails.

But all is not lost. The many thousands of you who contacted your representatives during the past few days about this amendment made a strong and powerful statement that Americans from all across the country want, need and deserve more trails and walking and bicycling opportunities.

See how your representative voted now.
Please stay tuned as we craft a follow-up strategy.
Thank you again for all of your actions, time and energy.

We here in the hamlet of Mountaindale, our neighbors in the greater Town of Fallsburg footprint know the importance of our "Rails to Trails" corridor, and know what it could mean to our tourism here in Sullivan County if we can expand and enlarge that corridor, and the services offered along its path.  Myself and many other citizens volunteer on the "Rails to Trails" committee here locally to work on these kinds of issues.  Well, what if our ability, the ability of other communities to have and expand these biking/hiking corridors were to disappear....well. please read the Press Release/Call For Action from the "Rails to Trails Conservancy" and that nightmare reality is on the brink of happening.
Please read the release, pass it along to all your friends, and TAKE ACTION TODAY!  

We aren't exaggerating when we say this ask has never been more urgent.
Please read more and take action now. We have until 4 p.m. EST today to have our thoughts heard.
Tomorrow, Thursday, February 2, the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on our nation's next multiyear surface transportation bill.
There's no way to spin this: From the perspective of trails, walking and bicycling, the bill is a total disaster.
Among its worst features are:
  • It eliminates dedicated funding for the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program—the nation's largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling. (Terrible news, but we expected it.)
  • It removes the rail-trail category from TE eligibility.
  • It completely eliminates funding for the Safe Routes to School program.
  • It eliminates funding for bicycle and pedestrian coordinators at state DOTs. 
But there's still a chance...
Representatives Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) are considering the introduction of an amendment in the committee that would right many of the bill's wrongs.
But they need to hear from other committee members that their amendment has a fighting chance.
Please: Take two minutes and ask your representatives to defend trails, walking and bicycling. We only have until 4 p.m. EST today, so any additional support you're able to gather will make an enormous difference!
Thank you,
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy