Transportation Bill a Step Back

The Federal Transportation Bill finally presented to Congress today takes a step back from key reforms of recent decades, says Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) Vice President of Policy and Trail Development Kevin Mills.

“It shrinks from the challenge of meeting America’s need for forward-looking 21st century policy that provides balanced transportation choices and improves public health and safety, the quality of our environment and the livability of our communities,” Mills says.

“From a broad transportation reform perspective, there are many reasons for concern, including misguided transportation priorities and gutting of provisions that ensure public input and consideration of the environment in transportation decisions.”

“The core programs that support trails, bicycling and walking are seriously compromised, but not undone,” he says.

Much as in the Senate bill, the most significant changes include:

  • Merging the three core trail and active transportation programs – Transportation Enhancements (TE), Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Recreational Trails  -and forcing TE and SRTS to compete for severely
    limited dollars against expensive new eligibilities, including some road
    projects;