THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2009: A BLUEPRINT FOR INVESTMENT AND REFORM
Chairman James L. Oberstar, Ranking Member John L. Mica,
Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, and Ranking Member John J. Duncan, Jr.
June 18, 2009
The "committee print" of the new Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 is available in pdf format (1.3 mb)
Summary by Stuart Macdonald, American Trails Magazine Editor
The long-awaited outline of the next federal transportation funding bill was announced by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. For those of us involved in trails and bike/ped facilities, the big question has been what will happen to the programs we have come to depend on. The Act would create an Office of Livability within the Federal Highway Administration, and:
"Requires the Office to administer the following programs:
The big question will be how much funding will be provided for these programs. The problem of adequately funding highways and other surface transportation projects is enormous, with multi-billion dollar shortfalls already occurring. We will have to see how this challenge is tackled as the new Authorization Act is shaped by Members of Congress and the transportation industry.
These programs are advanced under the new roles of the Office of Livability:
The Act clearly includes bicycling and walking as important aspects of transportation policy:
For the "complete streets" ideal proposed by bicycling and pedestrian interests, the new phrase "comprehensive streets" is being used:
Consolidation of programs is a key theme of the new Act, in moving "from an amalgamation of prescriptive programs to a performance-based framework for intermodal transportation investment." At least 75 individual programs are scheduled for elimination, while others are grouped with similar initiatives. Of particular interest:
We will be reading the documents released by the Committee, talking to other advocates of trails, transit, and livabile communities, and listening to our sources in Washington for more news and reactions to the transportation proposals. We'll do our best to keep you informed, and to let you know how you can support funding and policies for America's nationwide trails system.
Documents released June 18, 2009 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asked lawmakers for an 18-month reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which would delay a decision on raising gas taxes or finding other ways to pay for highways.
As a member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), American Trails urges organizations of every size and interest to become a Supporter of the Recreational Trails Program. Letters will be sent on an ongoing basis to Congress members and key members of the Administration. To date, 186 organizations have signed on to the first support letter (sent to key Congress members). CRT would like to have over 500 organizations sign-on as Supporters. Every state and every trail activity benefits from the Recreational Trails Program, and we need your support! Please pass the word on through your networks.
For more information, contact Catherine A. Ahern, American Recreation Coalition and Coalition for Recreational Trails
202-682-9530; Fax 202-682-9529