Posted on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 09:14.
Transit and Trail Connections Will Boost Public Access to Wildlife Refuges
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has just released a national study on how to access more than 100 National Wildlife Refuges by public transit and trails. The concept of using public transportation to link parks and other public land sites to population centers was showcased at Partners Outdoors 2010 for the San Francisco Bay Area, and served as the catalyst for the FWS initiative. The agency worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center to evaluate 142 National Wildlife Refuges – mostly urban and suburban – for connections to existing or potential transit and trail resources. The program “will be a new tool for Fish and Wildlife staff, partner agencies, and friends groups to recognize potential connections, set priorities for future planning, and ultimately enhance alternative transportation access to National Wildlife Refuges,” according to the report summary. The report, entitled Transit and Trail Connections: Assessment of Visitor Access to National Wildlife Refuges, was prepared with Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in the Parks Program funds authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Phase Two of the initiative, also funded through SAFETEA-LU, will be a communications and promotions effort this year that will include an online guide. A copy of the complete 42-page report is available by clicking here.
Trail Groups Urge House Transportation Committee to Increase Funding for the Recreational Trails Program
Representative Don Young, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced H.R. 3, Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (TEA-LU) on February 9, 2005. The content of the bill introduced is essentially the same that the House passed last year and is available at www.house.gov/transportation. On February 28, Members of the Coalition for Recreational Trails and other trail supporters sent a letter to Chairman Young to express its strong and united support for TEA-LU's significantly increased funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). TEA-LU provides $503 million for the RTP program over six years – an 86% increase over TEA 21 – and ramps spending up to $110 million for FY09. Click Here to see the entire text of the letter.
EIGHT-MONTH HIGHWAY BILL EXTENSION PASSED BY HOUSE
(September 30, 2004) The House voted 409-8 today to extend current surface transportation programs an additional eight months, as Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska, vowed to keep trying for a conference deal on a stalled six-year highway reauthorization bill. The extension (HR 5183), which the Senate is expected to clear later today, would keep highway, public transportation and road safety programs going through May 31, 2005. It would provide about $24.5 billion in budget authority for highway programs, while transit programs would receive $5.2 billion, $4.2 billion of which would come from the Highway Trust Fund and an additional $1 billion would come from the general fund. House leaders gave in to the Senate in a dispute over $2 billion that the House wanted for road projects earmarked by members. Instead, those funds would be allocated in a way that ensures that each state receives its guaranteed 90.5 cents return per dollar of gas tax contributed for fiscal 2004.
Source: Congressional Quarterly 9-30-04
ARC Submits Comments on Yellowstone Winter Use Plans
The American Recreation Coalition has submitted comments to the National Park Service regarding the Environmental Assessment of the Temporary Winter Use Plans for Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. Expressing general support for the assessment’s Preferred Alternative, ARC stated, “We believe that [the Preferred Alternative] honors the National Park Service’s longstanding policy that snowmobiles are a legitimate means of transportation allowing their riders to see, sense and enjoy the national parks in unique and memorable ways.” To read the comments,
Members of the Coalition for Recreational Trails and other trail supporters urged House and Senate conferees on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation to agree to the level of funding – $503 million over six years – included in the House-passed version of the legislation. Click here to see the entire text of the letter.
On June 7 2004, Jon Porter sent a "Dear Collegue" Letter
to Chairman of the United States House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Don Young, urging him to maintain funding for the RTP program set forth in the TEA-LU bill passed by the House on April 2, 2004. This letter was signed by 50 other Members of Congress. Click here
for a copy of the letter.
On behalf of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), below is a draft resolution in support of the Recreational Trails Program. Resolutions can be a powerful and effective tool for communicating with Congress. With the TEA-21 reauthorization process ongoing, the attached draft is intended to provide a convenient mechanism for sharing your organization's voice.
This document can be used by an endless variety of organizations: state and local governments, MPOs, local trail groups, national or state advocacy organizations, etc. The timeline for TEA-21 reauthorization is constantly shifting, so it would be best to communicate with Congress at the earliest opportunity. Your support and assistance are greatly appreciated.
On April 2, 2004, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3550 by a vote of 357-65. The RTP funding levels ($503 million over six years) included in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s amended bill were retained in the legislation as passed by the House. A copy of the bill can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/. The bill now moves on to a Senate-House conference that will work out the differences between the two versions of the legislation.
On March 24, 2004, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure reported out an amended version of H.R. 3550, which reduces overall funding levels from $375 billion to $275 billion. Proposed funding for RTP was also reduced somewhat, from $700 million over six years to $503 million over the same period ($53 million in 2004, $70 million in 2005, $80 million in 2006, $90 million in 2007, $100 million in 2008, and $110 million in 2009). Despite the decrease, however, the $503 million funding level represents an 86% increase over the $270 million in funding provided during the six years of TEA-21. The legislation is tentatively scheduled to be considered by the full House of Representatives late in the following week.
RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM
- The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was created by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), reauthorized in 1998 as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and reauthorized again in 2005 through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
- The legislation applies the “user-pay/user-benefit” philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund, returning federal tax on fuel used for nonhighway recreation to the states for trail projects.