Active Transportation and the Charisma of Place Keith Laughlin Rails-to-Trails Conservancy February 3, 2012
RTC 101• Founded in 1986• 150,000 Members and supporters• HQ in DC with 4 Regional Offices• 35 Staff
Our MissionTo create a nationwide network of trailsfrom former rail lines and connectingcorridors……to build healthier places for healthierpeople.
Looking BackPast success:• 1986: 250 miles• 2012: 20,000 miles
Two Keys to Our Success1) Federal Investment: - $9.87 Billion in Transportation Enhancements funding since 1992; - 2/3 of $$ for trails, walking and biking2) Local Partnerships
Looking Ahead:Our Audacious Goal By 2020, 90 percent of Americans will live within three miles of a local trail system.
An Even More Audacious Goal for the FutureTo create active transportation systems:…seamless networks of trails, on roadcycling facilities, and sidewalks – allconnected to public transportation – thatwill give people the choice of mobilitywithout an automobile.
Utopian? NO.But to imagine what’s possible inthe future it’s useful tounderstand what has happened inthe past.
1919: Transcontinental Motor Convoy• Traveled from Washington DC to San Francisco• 3,251 miles in 62 days• Averaged 52 miles per day
1939: NY World’s Fair General Motor’s “Futurama” Exhibit Caption: “Two 14-lane express highways cross in 1960”
1956: The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
1982: Transit Investment• Transit capital investments become eligible for highway trust fund monies.
1991: A Major Shift Begins• Eisenhower Interstate System is completed; 46,000 miles at a cost of $425 billion (2006 dollars)• ISTEA passed and Transportation Enhancements created; has provided over $6 billion for trails/bike/ped since 1992
1994: The “Information Superhighway” “The Greatest Social Revolution Since the Automobile” - January 1994
2003: Attack on Transportation Enhancements• Petri Amendment (R-WI) to restore funding was approved by a bipartisan vote of 320-90.• Inoculated us from additional attacks
2005: Passage of SAFETEALUThree major accomplishments:• Transportation Enhancements preserved• Safe Routes to Schools created• Non-Motorized Pilot Project created
2005: Beyond TE;The NMPP$25 Million each to:• Columbia, MO• Marin Co, CA• Minneapolis, MN• Sheboygan Co, WI
2009: A New Day at USDOT“We have a window ofopportunity to thinkdifferently abouttransportation andpropose bold, newapproaches to improvethe livability of ournation’s communities.”Secretary LaHoodJune 2009
2010: The Bike Lash Begins“…"Strategic Plan 2010-2015" reachesnew depths of incoherence andsloganeering on behalf of an extremegreen agenda…”Tollroad NewsMay 2010
2010: Earth Day “You must be a bicyclist.” Pres. Barack Obama April 22, 2010
2012: … A Cultural Shift• It works!• It pays!• It’s popular!• It’s in the streets!• It’s in advertising…• People want it!• And it’s COOL!
2012: Yesterday The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act:• Eliminates guaranteed funding for Transportation Enhancements• Makes rail-trail conversions ineligible for federal funding• Eliminates Safe Routes to School• Eliminates trust fund revenues for transit
2012: Yesterday• The Petri-Johnson-Lipinski Amendment was defeated 27-29.• Thanks: Rep. Bernice-Johnson• Spanks: Rep. Farenthold
2012: The Great Paradox• Trails and active transportation have never been more popular or in greater demand• But powerful forces want to turn back the clock to 1956: no transit, no trails, no bike/ ped• Highways only: “Drive, Baby, Drive!”
2012: Dueling Visions We are witnessing a clash of twovery different visions of transportationin America.
Where Do We Go From Here?• Four part strategy:- Making Our Case- Organize, Organize, Organize- Raising Our Voices- Expanding Our Movement
Expanding Our MovementPrimary Targets:• Local elected officials, particularly Republicans• Health care advocates & industry• Economic and community development specialists• Large employers looking for talented young workers
A Large Employer• Lexis-Nexis• Information/Technolgy Firm• Dayton, OH• Has the ear of its governor
Conclusion• We are in for a major fight.• There will be setbacks.• But we will ultimately prevail.• The tired 1939 vision of GM’s Futurama exhibit has passed its shelf life.• We are redefining what it means to be a healthy community in the 21st century.• Trails and bikes will be at the center.