The Washington DC-based Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) plans to launch a national campaign that would seek $2 billion for 40 communities to fund non-motorized transportation projects in the next federal transportation bill, which is up for re-authorization in 2010.
Calling it their 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation, the national advocacy group is in the early stages of identifying communities that could make a compelling case to Congress for a $50 million share of this money.
The RTC — who will hold their annual conference in Portland this August — hopes to make this campaign a “key national program in advancing pedestrian and bicycle facilities,” and they’ve got the clout to make it happen.
Arguably the most well-connected and powerful bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group in the country, the RTC were key players in the “Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program” that was adopted into the most recent federal transportation bill passed in 2005.
That program resulted in four communities getting $25 million each to, as the RTC puts it, “demonstrate that targeted investments can shift trips to bicycling and walking.”
The communities were:
- Marin County, CA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Sheboygan County, WI
The RTC sees this new campaign as the natural extension of that program. Their VP of Policy, Kevin Mills told me that, “if it worked so great for four communities, why not forty?”
If the campaign succeeds and becomes funded in the next transportation bill, interested communities would then work with the RTC to lobby congress in order to be selected.
Given that Portland is positioned to become America’s first truly “World-class” biking city (all that’s missing is money), and given the transportation policies and current political positioning of Oregon’s Congressional delegation, I think Portland would stand a very good chance of being selected.
Mills said they plan to officially launch this program at their annual conference in Portland on August 7-10th.