Outdoors blog

Congress considers wiping out trail funding


Nancy Sim, of Toronto, Canada skates The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Enaville on Wednesday. She is part of a group of inline skaters spending five days skating the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and Centennial Trail. 
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Nancy Sim, of Toronto, Canada skates The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Enaville on Wednesday. She is part of a group of inline skaters spending five days skating the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and Centennial Trail. (The Spokesman-Review)

TRAILS -- The Inland Northwest, with its fabulous system of rail trails, has insight to what would be lost if a malicious defunding bill gets anywhere in Congress.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy is calling H.R. 7 -- the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012 -- "atrocious" for several reasons.

If it passes the House floor and becomes law as it stands, the bill would:

  • Eliminate dedicated funding for trails, walking and bicycling;
  • Destroy a 30-year precedent of long-term dedicated funding for transit;
  • Do away with the rail-trail eligibility category in the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program;
  • Eliminate the Safe Routes to School program;
  • Reduce job creation potential, since trail, walking and bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway projects;
  • Contribute to our growing health and obesity crises.

A coalition of groups, including cyclists, hikers, conservationist and others, is trying to get word out to defeat this bill when it comes to the House floor—expected to begin Tuesday.

Read an ABC News report on the bill here.

American Trails is keeping track of several trails-related bills.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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