Parks & Trails New York is actively working on a coordinated effort to ensure that New York State implements the new federal transportation bill in a way that continues funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs, trail building, and safe routes to school.
We highly recommend reading the side by side transportation bill comparison, prepared by American Bikes, to help you gauge the differences in the old and new transportation bills. The comparison clearly illustrates what has changed and analyzes what the impact will be. You can find it here http://www.americabikes.org/map_21_analysis
Please note that NYSDOT can opt out of 50% of the Transportation Alternatives funding – the money that can be used for trail building and all of the Recreational Trails funding.
1. Urge NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald to release existing dedicated Transportation Enhancement Program funds for a new round of grant funding
NYSDOT still has up to $50 million dedicated for the Transportation Enhancements Program that should be put to work to build trails, sidewalks, and other infrastructure for biking and walking. If there is no grant round and these dollars are not obligated, they are at risk of being returned to the federal government when they request rescissions.
Here is how you can help:
- Urge Governor Cuomo, your state Senator and Assemblyperson, and NYSDOT Commissioner McDonald to guarantee that NYS will NOT opt out of Recreational Trails or Transportation Alternatives funding. Our state lawmakers can play a key role in whether NYSDOT chooses to use its Transportation Alternative dollars to support trails, bicycling and walking or road building. Already some states are planning to draft legislation that outlines how they will implement the federal transportation bill. All NY’s state representatives are up for re-election in November. Make sure you know where incumbents and challengers stand on funding for active transportation.
- Get involved with your MPO or DOT regional bicycle and pedestrian advisory group. MPOs will control half of the Transportation Alternatives funding that can be used for trails and biking and walking infrastructure. Attend a meeting of your MPO or DOT region bike-ped advisory committee and advocate for a strong focus on trails, bicycling and walking. If your MPO or DOT region doesn’t have an advisory group, advocate for starting one.
Please give us a call if you have questions on all this. We too are just learning what it all means.