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On December 13, 2010, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hand-delivered more than 51,000 signatures in a petition to AAA to support—not oppose—the continuation of established trail, walking and bicycling programs through the transportation trust fund. Now, we turn our focus on Congress, protecting and defending these active transportation programs on the federal stage. We will show our elected leaders the results of our AAA petition and remind them that it represents millions of Americans who want a balanced transportation future.


RTC President Keith Laughlin speaks
to cyclists and the media before
delivering the petition to AAA.

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Read the Chain of Correspondence

Transparency is important in a campaign of this nature. Below is the full history of our correspondence with AAA:

President and CEO of AAA Mid-Atlantic Don Gagnon's original story in AAA World (July/August 2010)

RTC President Keith Laughlin's letter to AAA National (9/1/2010)

President and CEO of AAA National Robert L. Darbelnet responds to Laughlin (9/9/2010)

Laughlin reiterates question in e-mail to Darbelnet (9/10/2010)

AAA Mid-Atlantic responds to RTC  (9/16/2010)

RTC reaches out again to AAA National  (10/28/2010)

AAA National's latest response to RTC  (11/02/2010)

Laughlin's final letter to Mr. Darbelnet  (12/23/2010)

AAA Petition Delivered

On Monday, December 13, RTC President Keith Laughlin—flanked by 35 cyclists on an unusually frigid morning in Heathrow, Fla.—delivered the names of more than 51,000 petition signers to the American Automobile Association (AAA), calling for the support of critical, established programs that fund trails, walking and bicycling

After thanking everyone for braving the cold, Laughlin led the procession of cyclists on a four-mile ride starting from Out-Spoke'N Bike Shop in Lake Mary, Fla., to the Cross Seminole Trail and then on to the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, just across the street from AAA's front door. Gathering on the Seminole-Wekiva and facing AAA's national headquarters, cyclists met with members of the media and heard comments from Laughlin, Florida Bicycle Association President Laura Hallam, Vice President of Mitchell Auto Group Steven Mitchell from Connecticut, and Out-Spoke'N Bike Shop owner Michael Cottle.

Cyclists then rode to AAA's headquarters and were admitted into the lobby where Laughlin and Hallam handed the petitions over to AAA representatives. A brief conversation followed, during which Laughlin reiterated RTC's—and 51,000 other Americans'—disappointment with AAA.

The petition, which included the names of more than 33,000 paying members of AAA, was the result of a months-long campaign following a policy position originally advocated by AAA Mid-Atlantic, and later adopted by AAA National. The position would orphan crucial walking and bicycling programs from our nation's transportation trust fund, forcing these necessary elements of a balanced transportation system to scramble for scarce dollars from our nation's general fund.

This petition campaign to AAA would not have been possible without the tens of thousands of individuals around the country who signed the petition and encouraged their friends and families to do so. Although the petition has been delivered, our work is far from finished! RTC continues fighting for a balanced transportation system, ensuring that AAA's attempt to exclude all but automobiles from the transportation trust fund does not succeed in the U.S. Congress.

For more background, read RTC's Testimonial page, which also includes the entire chain of correspondence with AAA, starting with AAA Mid-Atlantic President and CEO Don Gagnon's original article.

Read the Petitions

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