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The 2011 Federal Budget: funding issues for trails

17 February 2011 No Comment

According to the American Trails website, the current budget talks threaten funding for trails.  Following is a report of the information from their website:

The Federal government, under a Continuing Resolution (CR), is funded through March 4, 2011. This week in Washington, the focus is on the federal budget, the deficit, and proposed cuts to spending on every aspect of national programs. This means that every program we rely on could be cut or eliminated: Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails Program, Safe Routes to School, Federal land management agency (Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife Service), trail budgets, and more.

The House of Representatives will vote on legislation (H.R. 1) that would cut current spending by at least $100 billion below the President’s FY 2011 request. Floor debate begins Tuesday.

Every individual and organization concerned with trails and bike/ped facilities should be ready to tell their Members of Congress why funding for these programs is important:

What’s happening now?

Federal budget cuts will affect trails

arrow House proposed budget details for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011:

arrow Land and Water Conservation Fund: BREAKING NEWS (FEBRUARY 16): By a vote of 216 to 213, Rep. Lummis (R-WY) amendment to zero out LWCF in H.R. 1 was DEFEATED on the House floor this evening. 33 Republicans, including Mike Simpson (R-ID) joined Democrats in defeating the amendment. (The Lummis amendment subsumed the Pearce amendment.). Although H.R. 1 still makes drastic cuts to LWCF, at least the Program has not been totally defunded. Just as importantly, members of Congress had to declare themselves. A sorting has taken place.

See the list of all the amendments that Representatives are urged to vote “NO” on. For additional information, visit the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition website

The House of Representatives is circulating Amendments to the FY11 Spending Bill that would defund the Land and Water Conservation Fund completely. Please use the Talking Points and Congressional Support list to contact all members possible. We urgently need your support and help reaching out to House champions urging them to protect LWCF and ensure it has consistent and reliable funding for the future. Once a program has lost all funding for a year, it is very difficult to restore it.

Please urgently ask all LWCF House champs to come to the floor and defend LWCF while reiterating that the program is a wise investment that provides public access for recreation, bolsters local economies and jobs, conserves working forests, farms and ranches, and protects our waters, wildlife and open spaces. See details and how you can take action now…

arrow Federal land management budgets: Major cuts are also proposed in the current House budget for a wide variety of construction, maintenance, and supporting programs on federal public lands. This includes trails and recreation areas on National Forests, Bureau of Land Management lands, US Fish & Wildlife Refuges, and the National Parks. (Stay tuned for more details.)

arrow ATTENTION: Devastating attack on trails, walking, and bicycling could happen this week! Though we do not know details yet, we anticipate a congressional amendment that could do away with or hobble transportation-funded programs like the Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements (the nation’s largest funding source for trails, walking, and bicycling), and Safe Routes to School. There is strength in numbers! Therefore, we are working with many other organizations to defeat such a damaging amendment. No action is needed to protect these three programs at the moment; we just wanted to give you a heads-up that an amendment could be offered in the coming days. You can expect an action alert from us. If it comes, please do not delay in speaking up. If such an amendment is offered, we might have mere hours to respond.

As soon as we get word on a specific threat, we will also add information to our federal budget web page. Check back often for the latest news and to see how you can take action…

arrow The House Transportation Committee has scheduled a series of field hearings on Federal Transportation reauthorization during February 2011, starting with West Virginia on Feb. 14 and moving on to the West Coast by Feb. 21-23. Plan to attend these sessions and speak up for continuing trails and bike/ped facilities (Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements, and Safe Routes to School) in the next reauthorization bill. Please help spread the word!

Take action!

American Trails and other nationwide organizations have been urging key members of Congress and Administration officials to recognize the importance of funding for trails and related facilities.

There is strength in numbers and we need to present a unified voice for trails, to document their many benefits, and to make the case for funding trails and bicycle/pedestrian programs. Join us in contacting your Senators and Representatives to let them know why these programs are vital to your local efforts.

Key Committees:

TALKING POINTS

Now more than ever, advocates must convince Congress that money spent on trails, bike/ped facilities, parks, and outdoor recreation is a sound investment in the country’s economy. The health of our children, as well as our cities, will depend on expanding transportation choices and preserving trails, open space, parks, and places for recreation.

As our nation looks closely at the increase in childhood obesity, the need for healthier lifestyle choices for everyone, safe routes for active transportation, and urban development, there are major issues to address. Trails, greenways, bikeways, and other routes are a critical part of the solution. Read more about the benefits of trails and find talking points by visiting these links:

American Trails benefits-related web pages:

Additional Resources:

More news and opinion on funding and federal programs

Support the Recreational Trails Program! Join our efforts with the Coalition for Recreational Trails to get RTP funding included in the next transportation bill and sign on to the letter supporting RTP. Will your state’s trails program survive? See concerns about the future of the Recreational Trails Program.

Resources on federal budgets and transportation funding

Transportation policy

Economic impacts of walking and bicycling

Funding trails and bike/ped programs

Blogs and supporters

YOUR COMMENTS and SUGGESTIONS

American Trails is committed to bringing you all the vital news about funding and policies that affect you. Watch for our ongoing alerts about the budget process, and check this page for updates.

  • To propose additional articles, letters, links, or resources for this page, please email Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails. This is meant to be an educational page, and American Trails reserves the right to turn down any submission that doesn’t meet our intent for this page.

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