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Americans want more safe opportunities to walk and bike to get where they're going.



Americans Want More Walking and Bicycling

In July's Advocacy Corner article on Federal Transportation Bills, we discussed the impending expiration of the current federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, on Sept. 30, 2009. Further, the Highway Trust Fund—the primary funding source for road construction—is facing serious revenue shortfalls and will likely see significant financial challenges within the next year.

These approaching events necessitate new transportation priorities. Last month you read about Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation—an effort to double the federal funding for trails, walking and biking. In a time when road budgets are shrinking and Americans are saving money by driving less, RTC understands the importance of safes places to walk and bike.

But do most Americans feel the same way? Resoundingly, yes! In a recent survey by national transportation reform groups (designed by Collective Strength and conducted by Harris Interactive), Americans clearly indicated that we should be spending more transportation dollars on active transportation facilities. Here's how their responses compared to current spending breakdowns:



Transportation Mode How would you distribute federal transportation funds? How federal transportation funds are actually distributed*
Roads 37%
Transit 41%
Walking and bicycling 22%

* Approximate

In other words, Americans want to spend nearly two-thirds of all our transportation dollars on walking, bicycling and public transit—flipping current priorities upside-down! Indeed, in the last month several major news sources have picked up on the trend and run stories highlighting how more and more people are choosing to walk or bike to get where they're going:

So we know that Americans want more walking and biking options. We know that walking and biking address many challenges our communities are facing, including public health, mobility, climate change, local economies, and more. But how will we get there?

Your assignment: Start thinking about the best arguments you can make for better walking and biking priorities nationally. Later in the month, we'll ask you to take action to get the word out.

If you don't currently receive our e-mails but would like to, register for the Rail-Trail Network now.

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