“Wow.” That’s what we said on Thursday of last week when we tallied up the signatures for our national petition and found that nearly 21,000 supporters like you had responded. The current federal surface transportation bill will expire on May 31, 2015, and now is the ideal time for supporters of trails, walking and biking to have your say. Supporters like you responded in a huge way by signing on to the following petition:
Petition for Trail Funding
…a balanced, sensible transportation bill that makes wise investments in trails and active-transportation networks.
These projects not only connect our neighborhoods, they boost local economies, preserve some of our most cherished places and build healthier, more active communities across the nation.
I urge Congress to support investments in trails, walking and biking programs as they take up the next transportation bill.
Instead of killing more trees and printing out several hundred pages of signatures and comments, we printed out one copy of the petition and packaged it with a CD-ROM to bring to Capitol Hill (see picture). We then delivered the petitions to the congressional leaders who will play an important role in shaping the next surface transportation bill, including Reps. Shuster, DeFazio, Graves and Holmes Norton, and Sens. Inhofe, Boxer, Vitter, Carper, Cochran and Cardin. After that, we sent an email to every member of Congress and every staff member dealing with transportation to inform them of the thousands of petition signatures we received.
Last year, RTC engaged leading Democratic and Republican pollsters to conduct a nationwide survey of 1,000 likely 2016 voters. The results were remarkable; 74 percent of respondents said they want to increase or maintain federal investment in walking and biking paths. The incredible response to our petition reaffirmed what we already demonstrated to Congress: Americans overwhelmingly support federal investment in trails, walking and biking.
Many of you who signed the petition also wrote wonderful comments explaining to Congress why you support federal funding for trails and active-transportation networks: Trails are a low cost way for me to stay healthy; trails provide a safe place for my grandchildren to walk or bike; trail tourism helps boost local economies, especially in rural areas like mine; trails help me spend time with my family and friends.
These personalized messages have a huge impact. We were so pleased to be able to deliver these petition signatures on your behalf. The sheer number of petition signatures, along with the heartfelt comments, will leave a lasting impression with members of Congress.
RTC will continue to work with members of Congress to ensure that funding for trails, walking and biking remains in the next transportation bill, but we couldn’t do it without your support and your voice. By speaking up for trails, you are making a huge difference. Thank you!