RTC Moves Forward With SAFETEA-LU
With the passing of the reauthorized surface transportation bill—SAFETEA-LU—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and our trailbuilding partners and allies have gained momentum needed to demonstrate the positive impact of accessible trails on the American landscape.
SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: Legacy for Users) was signed into law by President Bush on August 10, 2005, after two years of delay and 12 extensions. The five-year legislation provides $3.5 billion for Transportation Enhancements, $612 million for a national Safe Routes to School program, $370 million for the Recreational Trails Program, and $100 million over four years to fund four communities in the new Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program.
The pilot program targets Columbia, Mo., Marin County, Calif., Minneapolis, Minn. and Sheboygan, Wisc. The four cities will develop and improve their non-motorized transportation options and hopefully serve as successful examples of the program when the bill is reauthorized in 2010.
In the Midwest region, Minnesota's trail system is a testament to the possibilities of trails. With a thorough comprehensive plan Minnesota is a leader in fusing trails into the state's landscape. Sheboygan, though not as trail-ready as Minneapolis, has opportunity on the horizon as they head into the next four years.
RTC and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) co-hosted a summit at RTC national headquarters, December 1516, 2005, in Washington, D.C., for government and community representatives in the pilot cities. The meeting laid the groundwork for the program as summit participants discussed funding, program procedures and ways to overcome possible hurdles.