Action Alert: July 2004 Scenic Byways Earmarking

**** URGENT NEED FOR ACTION ****

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE EARMARKS ALL FY04 SCENIC BYWAYS GRANT MONEY

On July 24, the full House Committee on Appropriations approved legislation establishing the budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation for Fiscal Year 2004 – the year which begins October 1, 2003. Included in the committee’s action were a number of contentious steps involving Transportation Enhancements and scenic byways. If the scenic byways provision is not altered, there will not be ANY funds available for award by the Federal Highway Administration next year under the traditional merit selection process.

The attached letter to U.S. Representative Don Young , Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, outlines our reasons for opposition. Our goal is to get Chairman Young and the other leaders of the T&I Committee to contest this action when the legislation reaches the House floor in September – and to urge the Senate to adopt legislation without the earmarking.

As someone who has participated in the scenic byways grant process and understands the value of this merit-based program, you need to take the time now to stop this very serious attack on the National Scenic Byways Program. While earmarking has occurred in the last two fiscal years, most of the funding has remained available for merit-based awards. That would change in FY04 under the House committee plan.

You should write protesting this action immediately. Your letters should note any funding requests you now have pending or in planning stages, and should say that your projects can compete on merit and shouldn’t be decided behind closed doors on political grounds. You also need to get as many other local allies of your byway to write as well, so copy this alert and give it to anyone else who might help. Click here for sample letters.

Time is very short. There are just a few legislative steps left to go before this earmarking is final: 1) the House has to approve the transportation appropriations bill; 2) the Senate has to approve its own transportation appropriations bill; and 3) the House and Senate have to go to conference and finalize the legislation. All of this will happen in early September. As a result, your communications are needed BY AUGUST 15.

Fax or e-mail your letters to:

1) your two Senators and your U.S. Representative – or Representatives if you represent a byways project in several Congressional Districts;

2) Chairman Young (see the attached letter for his address) and his Democratic counterpart (and byways program godfather), the Honorable Jim Oberstar, Ranking Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

Fax and e-mail information for Members of Congress can be found at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov . Copies of all letters should also be sent to the American Recreation Coalition, 1225 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, faxed to 202-682-9529, or e-mailed to arc@funoutdoors.com.

If you have any questions, call Derrick Crandall at the American Recreation Coalition at 202-682-9530.

PLEASE ACT TODAY