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Policy

Guidance on T&I Committee Earmarks

By: Rails to Trails Conservancy
March 29, 2021

Photo courtesy RTC
Photo courtesy RTC

Earlier this week, we shared an update about Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC’s) work to secure increased and focused federal investment in safe and connected systems for active transportation. We promised real-time updates as additional information becomes available.

The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee has now issued guidance about earmarks available for local transportation priorities. The committee is inviting all members of Congress to submit specific “Member Designated Projects” for inclusion in the surface transportation reauthorization currently being drafted. As such, the timeline is very short, and projects will only be accepted between April 1 and April 23. (Note that this process is separate and distinct from the House Appropriations Committee earmarks.)

The T&I earmark process provides a strategically important opportunity to engage your member of Congress—to secure direct near-term funding for an iconic and critical active transportation project while educating them about your plans to connect safe walking and biking routes into a seamless community-wide or regional system.

By presenting your proposed earmark as a piece of a larger plan, you can more clearly demonstrate the full impact of your project and underscore the need for policy change in the next surface transportation bill. The earmarks have the potential to provide near-term funding while the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act provides the necessary ongoing and focused funding to accelerate completion of your full active transportation plan.

Here is a summary of what we know:

The most urgent action for you to take is to reach out to your member of Congress. Each member’s office will have its own process for collecting project ideas. Demonstrating that your project has broad community and political support, and will bring significant transportation, economic, environmental, health and other benefits to your community, will help to convince your member of Congress to prioritize the project. Find information about your member here.

When you reach out to your member of Congress, we suggest highlighting aspects of the project and your trail network vision that illustrate the transformative impact it can have in areas that are priorities for this Congress and the Administration, such as climate, equity and economic opportunity. For example:

Some other notes about project eligibility:

Remember that the T&I Committee is asking members to submit their projects between April 1 and April 16, so please reach out as soon as possible.

For more information about the process for collecting Member Designated Projects please contact us if you have any questions! We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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Rails to Trails Conservancy

At Rails to Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Since 1986, RTC has worked to bring the power of trails to more communities across the country, serving as the national voice for the rail-trail movement.

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