Dear Campaign Advocate,
In an April 6 e-mail, we asked you to encourage local leaders to send letters to your U.S. Representative(s), asking them in turn to submit a policy request to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, with copies to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. The purpose of the policy request is to solicit Committee leadership support for the creation of an Active Transportation Investment Fund in the reauthorized version of SAFTEA-LU.
Please note the fast-approaching deadline of this Friday, April 24. This timing ensures that House members have adequate opportunity to prepare and submit the actual policy request to the T&I leadership by Friday, May 1.
Thank you to all those communities that have already initiated this chain of letters. In addition to supporting your own community, you are also bolstering the effort of the larger movement for active transportation. If you have not done so already, please let us know that you have contacted your representative so we can track congressional progress.
In response to questions we've received, here are two points of clarification:
1) You may have received High Priority Project (HPP) request letters from your representative’s office. These are unrelated to the policy request process initiated by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). The HPP requests are for individual project ideas for possible Congressional designation in the reauthorized transportation legislation. The HPP forms coincidentally have the same deadline, April 24, as we recommended for the policy request letters above. To clarify, we encourage all campaign communities to engage in RTC's policy request process to maximize the chances that a robust, enduring program is included in the initial draft of the bill to fund concentrated investments in completing active transportation systems. Communities may also be inclined to respond to HPP requests to optimize all funding options for active transportation, or to fund additional work.
2) Some campaign participants have expressed discomfort or confusion about whether they are allowed to lobby congressional members to pursue a policy request. Therefore, it is crucial that individuals and organizations be involved in your campaign effort who are empowered to lobby. Additionally, nonprofit entities should familiarize themselves with the lobbying limits—but not prohibition—applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations.
To reiterate from the previous e-mail: this policy request process may be our best chance to accomplish the goals of the 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation in the federal transportation bill. Drafting is underway. Early May is our window to have an impact on the initial bill.
Finally, although the above recommended deadline has been suggested to ensure these policy requests are submitted in a timely fashion, it is better to send your letter late rather than not at all.
As always, please contact us with any questions.