What Sequestration Will Mean for Trails: The Latest

Posted 03/27/13 by Marianne Wesley Fowler in Policy

Last month, we posted our analysis of the impact of sequestration on the nation's trails, and biking and walking infrastructure.

On March 1, as scheduled, federal agencies were subject to mandatory funding cuts. As we expected, monies in the Highway Trust Fund were protected from cuts, and programs funded with these monies continue as normal.

However, programs administered with funds outside the Highway Trust Fund have been subjected to cuts of between 8 and 10 percent for this fiscal year. That includes Community Development Block Grants, CDC Community Transformation Grants and other programs that fund the development of trails and active transportation networks.

The cuts from sequestration will start to be felt in local communities in early-mid April once federal agencies have reduced their staffing and spending plans.

For several years now, the federal government has been operating on short-term budgets. The latest "continuing resolution" (Washington speak for short term budget) ends on March 27. The Congress passed a new continuing resolution providing funding through the end of this fiscal year (Sept 30, 2013). This budget maintains spending for highway programs as authorized in MAP-21, but also the cuts imposed by the sequestration law on other programs.

The spending battle now moves on to the FY 2014 budget for the year beginning October 1, 2013. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy continues to monitor federal actions related to spending levels, and we are pushing for full funding for all programs that promote trails and active transportation. We will continue to update you as we learn more. Thank you for your support. 

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