There has been a lot of news coverage and analysis recently
of a federal government sequestration and its potential impacts. At
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, our experienced policy and research staff have
been mining their sources and sorting through all available information to
estimate what impact sequestration could have on our movement for better
trails, biking and walking.
The US Department of Transportation has determined that
monies in the Highway Trust Fund are protected from sequestration. However, we
can expect some cuts to transportation funds that do not come from gas taxes,
which could marginally reduce road investments and multi-modal programs such as
In addition, programs administered by other federal agencies
that promote healthy, safe transportation and trails may also be cut. These
programs include the Community Development Block Grants, CDC Community
Transformation Grants, Department of Interior funds for trails, and other
Here are some actions you can take to mitigate program
losses due to sequestration.
1. Push project sponsors and state agencies to obligate
funds as early as possible. As time goes on there will be less money available
for unobligated projects.
2. Propose projects with higher than required local matches.
Reducing the federal share will help the money go further.
3. Encourage state DOTs to use money from their safety
programs for projects that benefit trails, biking and walking. Safety programs
aren’t being subject to the same cuts and thus have more money available. These
funds can be used for education initiatives, encouragement campaigns and safety
improvements to roadways.
Please take a moment to pass on this informational post to
friends and colleagues in the trails and active transportation movement who
might be interested. We will keep you updated as we learn more.