Dear Campaign Advocate,
It’s been a big week, and we at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) have several exciting pieces of news to share with you. Hang on to your helmets!
1. RTC Could Win $200,000 to Support Trails and Policy Efforts
RTC has been in a months-long voting contest to win $200,000 as part of the Members Project from American Express and TakePart. After trailing in second place for most of the last two months, we have nearly pulled into a dead heat for first place this week!
Now, with only nine days to go, we turn to you, some of our most faithful advocates, to help us bump up to—and stay in—first place. If you can, please encourage readers of any lists you manage or of which you’re a member to do so as well. Just ask them to visit www.railstotrails.org/voteRTC, perhaps mentioning our work with your local efforts to encourage their support. Feel free to contact us with any questions. Thank you for the support—it might just provide the edge we need!
Individuals are allowed to vote once per voting cycle. The current cycle
ends this Sunday, with one more voting cycle to follow. The final cycle
ends Sunday, May 23, at midnight. That means you still have time to
2. Interagency Childhood Obesity Task Force recommends active transportation
Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, this federal task force just put out its report, "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation." Among the report’s recommendations to curb childhood obesity are three items specific to active transportation: "Reauthorize a Surface Transportation Act that enhances livability and physical activity," including complete networks of safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities and Complete Streets (5.8); continue and enhance Safe Routes to School (5.11); and "'Active transport' should be encouraged between homes, schools, and community destinations for afterschool activities, including to and from parks, libraries, transit, bus stops, and recreation centers" (5.12).
RTC recently met with the First Lady’s policy staff and we plan to work together in the future to draw attention to the importance of trails, walking and bicycling as critical elements in the fight against obesity.
Also, the "Built Environment" section of the report (p. 78-82) is well-framed to help make the case for the ACT Act (H.R. 4722; see #3, below).
3. ACT Act passes 50 co-sponsors!
Thanks in no small part to your tireless efforts, H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 ("ACT Act"), surpassed the 50 co-sponsor milestone last week! This momentous occasion speaks to the strength of our movement and your dedicated efforts to communicate the need for such a program to your federal elected officials.
As we continue our push to gain additional supporters, we ask those of you whose communities are listed at the end of this e-mail to please contact us to discuss which of your representative(s) still need to sign on and how we can secure their support. Thank you.
4. Kerry-Lieberman climate bill released this week
On Wednesday, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced the American Power Act. Among the key points of relevance to our work are the inclusion of $6.25 billion annually for transportation (7.3 percent of revenues), and the requirement that states and cities set transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction goals and develop plans to reach those targets. The dollars would be split between grants to states and MPOs for projects that reduce GHG emissions ($1.875 billion), multi-modal TIGER grants ($1.875 billion), and the Highway Trust Fund for projects that reduce GHG emissions ($2.5 billion). This bill endorses the notion that clean transportation is critical to any serious effort to reduce climate emissions and oil dependence.
Finally, a quick note about the TIGER II grant program, as referenced in our late April e-mail. USDOT is hosting a "Lessons on How to Compete for a DOT Discretionary Grant" seminar this coming Tuesday, May 18 at 1 p.m. EDT. The seminar will be webcast through www.dot.gov.
Thank you again for your support and dedication.
If your community is listed below (alphabetized by state), please contact us to discuss which of your representative(s) still need to sign on and how we can secure their support. Thank you.
| Alameda County, Calif.
|| Portland, Maine
|| Buffalo, N.Y.
| Sacramento, Calif.
|| Pioneer Valley, Mass.
|| Rochester, N.Y.
| Hartford, Conn.
|| Baltimore, Md.
|| Cleveland, Ohio
| Jacksonville, Fla.
|| Detroit, Mich.
|| Columbus, Ohio
| Miami, Fla.
|| Minneapolis, Minn.
|| Eugene, Ore.
| Pinellas County, Fla.
|| St. Louis, Mo.
|| Providence, R.I.
| Volusia County, Fla.
|| Charlotte, N.C.
|| Puyallup, Wash.
| Chicago, Ill.
|| Manchester, N.H.
|| Milwaukee, Wis.
| Central Indiana
|| Camden, N.J.