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TA-funded boardwalk reconstruction
in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

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Transportation Alternatives
The Basics

First authorized in the 1991 federal multimodal transportation bill "ISTEA," Transportation Alternatives (TA) is the nation's largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling. As such, its protection, growth and popularity are central to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) interests.

In addition to funding active transportation around the country, TA funds numerous other community-based projects that expand travel choices and contribute to a better, safer and more efficient transportation system. For more, see the 10 TA Definitions.

In response to ever-increasing community demand, the TA program is now a well-established program that has been legally guaranteed a basic level of funding equal to 10 percent of the Surface Transportation Program. This $800 million—totaling less than two percent of our nation's overall surface transportation spending—has provided indispensable support for communities looking to improve their trail and "active transportation" (walking and bicycling) infrastructure and all the benefits that go with these facilities.

In addition, the TA program is instrumental in other local safety, environmental and cultural priorities. From projects like rail-trail conversions and building sidewalks and trails, to the preservation of historic train depots and improving wildlife connectivity, TE allows communities to address their unique challenges.

Despite its overwhelming popularity on the local level and across party lines, TA has been the subject of numerous attacks at the federal, and sometimes the state, level. These have included attacks from the congressional members, as some representatives' and senators' actions make clear they do not fully understand and appreciate the benefits and necessity of TA programs to our nation's transportation system.

It is therefore all the more critical that we do our best to communicate to our elected officials the importance of the TA program. Please feel free to reference and use the TA resources we have made available for this purpose.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037