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RTC TrailBlog

  • Webinar: Promoting Equity in the Next Federal Transportation Bill

    As the White House and Congress jumpstart a dialogue about the next federal surface transportation bill, the Equity Caucus at Transportation for America invites you to join them on Friday, March 18, from 1 to 2 p.m. EST for a webinar focused on how we can expand mobility and opportunity for all Americans, including low-income populations and communities of color, through smart and equitable transportation investments.

    The Bus to the Capitol: Promoting Equity in the Next Federal Transportation Bill will feature:

    • Roy Kienitz, Undersecretary of Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
    • Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
    • James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
    • Radhika Fox, Federal Policy Director, PolicyLink (Moderator)

    Join the webinar to:

    • Hear about the Obama Administration’s blueprint for the transportation bill
    • Get an update on Congressional activity on transportation
    • Learn how to get engaged in advocacy for a transportation bill that creates strong, healthy communities of opportunity

    We hope you’ll join us. Register today!

    Also, please stay tuned for future webinars hosted by the Equity Caucus at Transportation for America.

    The Equity Caucus at Transportation for America--formed by the nation’s leading civil rights, community development, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women’s and transportation organizations--drives transportation policies that advance economic and social equity in America. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a member of the Equity Caucus.

  • Meet the Pedal Pushers!

    This spring, Team RTC will once again be riding as part of Brita Climate Ride. The five-day, 300-mile bicycle journey from New York to Washington, D.C., raises money and awareness for sustainable energy solutions--including promoting bicycling as an important alternative mode of transportation.

    For the third year, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been named a beneficiary of the event, meaning a portion of funds raised through Climate Ride will go directly to benefit our trail-building work. But the rules are a little different this year. Now, participants who sign up can directly choose the organization they wish to support with their fundraising dollars.

    Two weeks ago, we heard from two women in Philadelphia--Steph Rio and Sara Lanious--who had signed up to ride and raise money for us. They hadn't heard of RTC before registering for Climate Ride, and they were looking for more background on our work. Honored that they chose us, we wanted to learn more about them and what attracted them to ride and help promote RTC. They're riding as a team, and together they make up the Pedal Pushers!

    Steph Rio
    Steph RioI grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago. Biking has taken many forms for me throughout my life. I'm 26 now, and some of my earliest memories growing up were sitting in the seat of my parents' bikes as they rode on the Illinois Prairie Path, and picking up yellow smiley-face cookies as a treat from the local bakery. I went to the University of Vermont (UVM) and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. After that, I volunteered for AmeriCorps through a mentoring program in Steamboat Springs, Colo. While living in Vermont and Colorado, I discovered a new love of recreational mountain biking. Then, in 2008 I moved to Philadelphia to work with inner-city youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA. I continue to tackle the challenges of city biking, which is a new adventure for me. My inspiration to participate in Climate Ride came from my college friend Emily, who completed the ride in 2009. After hearing Emily's amazing stories, I knew I had to get involved.


    Sara Lanious
    ISara Lanious'm a 28-year-old interior designer who has never taken on a 300-mile bike ride--or ever thought I would. I'm the youngest of four kids and grew up all over the world because my dad was an army officer who served from the time I was a toddler. I attended the University of Kansas, where I learned the importance of college basketball ... and also earned a BFA in Interior Design. I was looking for adventure and moved to Philadelphia after graduation to begin my career. Shortly after moving, I got rid of my trusty Ford Escort and invested in my first bike since I was 12; I've been living a carbon-reduced life for the last four years. It is glorious! My initial interest in Climate Ride was the physical challenge, being able to see the northeast countryside and have a good story to look back on.

    ***

    We met at the end of 2010, and Steph was soon talking about doing Climate Ride. We both wanted to do something active, meaningful and fun with our time off work, so we decided to take the plunge and sign up for the ride as a team. We spent a good half-hour figuring out what our team name would be and finally decided on Pedal Pushers.

    Pedal PushersWhen you sign up for Climate Ride, you have the option to choose an organization for which to raise money. We felt it was important to choose an organization that was transparent about its mission and worked to support healthy living and awareness of the environment. Neither of us had ever heard of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), but we were impressed with their mission, and they've shown solid progress during their 25 years of work. 

    So far, we are following the recommended training schedule that Climate Ride compiled on their website. It includes a variety of cardio, strength training and yoga. It's only the beginning of March and already we've seen a huge increase in gym activity (and soreness)! We are looking forward to the longer rides up to places like Valley Forge, which is part of Climate Rides route.

    In order to participate, Pedal Pushers has to raise $4,800, which will be donated directly to RTC! Currently, we are hovering around 18 percent of our goal, which is really exciting. With the help of some local bars in Philly, Pedal Pushers will be hosting two events to raise money and awareness. We have also started a blog so supporters can follow our fundraising and training progress. We are three weeks into the training schedule and looking forward to those warmer days when we can ride the Schuylkill River Trail. It's our backyard trail, but we only recently discovered that it's a rail-trail!

    We need the help of community members who already believe in the impact of RTC to build further awareness about their mission. Please consider supporting us in our efforts to raise $4,800 dollars to give this great organization!

    To donate, please go to tinyurl.com/pedalpushers2011. And if you'd like more information on the Pedal Pushers and their fundraising efforts, keep up with our progress at pedalpushers2011.blogspot.com.

    Photos courtesy of Sara Lanious and Steph Rio. 

  • Trail Voices: Michael Henderson

    Rail lines and six-lane commuter arteries slice across the Edgewood and Eckington neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. Just to the south, across a dangerous intersection, sits the NoMa business district. This formerly industrial area has received $1.5 billion of investment, including a new Metro station, offices, retail and a supermarket. At the southern edge of NoMa is Union Station.

    Michael Henderson has lived in Edgewood for nine years. To travel the two miles between his home and Union Station--a trip that can be made in 12 minutes by bike--Henderson would drive his car because he didn't have a safe, convenient way to get there.

    That trip is now a little easier after the opening of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Named for the rail corridor it parallels, the pathway soars over busy avenues and connects to neighborhood streets, offering a quick route for people to walk and bike between downtown and neighborhoods in Northeast D.C.

    Since the path opened, Henderson has taken his bike more often, sometimes four times a week, down the trail to Union Station. "I've never ridden my bike more," he says, "because there's never been a trail."

    In some ways, riding the trail is a return to childhood for Henderson. Growing up in Denver, Colo., he remembers biking three or four miles to school with his friends. Since moving to Washington, Henderson has tried to keep physical activity integrated with his daily routine. "I'm not someone who likes to go to the weight room," he says, "but I can get on my bike and ride." He adds with a laugh: "I coast a lot."

    But Henderson is worried that some of his neighbors aren't using the trail as much as they could. "There are tons of folks like me who understand the value of a trail...but there's certainly a significant number of people in Edgewood who have never used a trail," he says. "Inertia is our biggest obstacle here."

    The solution is reaching out to neighbors, through community celebrations, tree plantings, 5K races and good old face-to-face contact. "One by one, people will say, 'I guess that trail is real,'" Henderson says. Once they're out on the trail, "they love it...It will eventually meld into the culture of Edgewood."

    Now, when he bikes past a group of people walking on the trail, he often knows someone in that group, who introduces him to the rest of the party. "Turns out, it's a neighbor that lives a block away," he says. As his neighbors begin to use the trail more, Henderson wants them to take ownership and become stewards of the trail. "You've got to invest in it."

    Even as the trail has improved access for residents, there is still more to do. The only route to the Metro station at Rhode Island Avenue follows a narrow sidewalk underneath a dark railroad overpass, with six lanes of commuter traffic speeding past. Before the trail was built and fences were installed, many residents used a shortcut that crossed an active freight rail corridor.

    A pedestrian bridge between the trail and the station is being designed that will provide a direct, safe route for Edgewood residents connecting to transit. It will also introduce new people to the trail. "They will use that to access the Metro," Henderson says, "then they'll see where the trail continues...and they'll say, 'Oh! That's the way to get there.'"

  • A Bicycle is Worth a Thousand Words

    What does your bicycle say about you? Does it reflect your personality or the way you live your life? Two South African bicycle enthusiasts, Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler, may have some ideas about this form of expression. Englebrecht and Grobler are traveling around South Africa and photographing people with their bicycles as they go about their day-to-day lives. Bicycle Portraits invites viewers to observe moments in the lives and surroundings of South Africans, and to get to know a little bit about each person.

    Englebrecht and Grobler’s ultimate goal of the Bicycle Portraits project is to bring awareness to the possibilities of using bicycles as a primary form of transportation. They noticed that their country lacks reliable public transportation, and while they had embraced bicycles as a solution to their own needs, others were not as enthusiastic. They plan to publish a book of their portraits and put a portion of the proceeds toward resources and training for underprivileged South Africans to have access to bicycles. They hope their efforts will empower their fellow citizens with reliable independent transportation.

    Photos courtesy of Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler

  • Pass It On: A Rail-Trail Rescue in Maryland

    A few weeks ago, we received a letter from Jerry and Bobbi Klima, who had stopped for a rail-trail ride in Maryland on their long drive home from Florida to Massachusetts. Thanks in part to a kindred cycling spirit they met, the Klimas came home with wonderful memories of the trail and the communities supporting it. They agreed to let us share their words here, so enjoy their story! 

    February 14, 2011

    When we travel by car, we bring our bikes and use them to explore new places. In February, we were returning from Florida to our very snowy home in Massachusetts. We planned to spend an evening in Maryland and looked on Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's TrailLink.com website for interesting rail-trails there. We chose the Indian Head Rail Trail, a 13-mile trail between Indian Head and White Plains in Maryland.

    The day dawned sunny and cold. We found the eastern end of the trail snow-covered and chose to walk a couple of miles along the trail through a beautiful forest, seeing a pair of bluebirds and a red-headed woodpecker, among others. We then drove to the end of the trail in Indian Head and found most of the snow had melted, so we took a bike ride along the trail, seeing three bald eagles and large flocks of geese, ducks and swans.

    We returned to our car for lunch, listening to radio coverage of the Egyptian uprising and hoping to hear President Obama speak. Unfortunately, we listened a bit too long and our battery died. Jerry got on his bike and went looking for help, stopping at the fire station and talking to a passerby. They recommended Charles County Auto Body a few miles down the road.

    When Jerry arrived and went inside carrying his helmet, Mike Jones, the owner, greeted him, saying, "Ah, a fellow biker, how are you doing today?" Jerry said that our day had started out great on his town's beautiful trail, but had gotten worse fast when we drained our battery. Mike produced a jumper battery pack and strapped it on Jerry's bike.

    Our day got much brighter when our car started right away. When we drove to the shop to return the battery, we learned that Mike is on the local trail committee. We told him that we are working on developing rail-trails in our hometown. Mike refused to take any payment, simply saying, "Pass it on." We certainly will! Bicycling and rail-trails bring out the best in people.

    By the way, the Indian Head Rail Trail is terrific. Don't miss it. And when you're in New England, don't miss our beautiful Coastal Trails Network in Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury and Amesbury, Mass.

    Jerry and Bobbi Klima

  • A Bike Sauna Rolls Through Prague

    By Jeff Ciabotti, RTC

    Imagine this: It's 19 degrees out with a wind chill that would send even the hardiest polar bear swimmers back to their lair for a long winter nap. You are riding fully geared up, but the wind is laughing in your face. As time drags on, your internal conversation is turning ugly. Just when you decide to abort your trip, a fire-spewing capsule suddenly appears that vaguely resembles the landing pod for Apollo 13. You cautiously approach. Upon hearing sounds of merriment, you reach for the hatch, pull it open and step into a rolling hothouse made just for you.

    Welcome to the BikeSAUNA from our friends in the Czech Republic. The portable, human-powered sauna was designed by an architectural firm in Prague and can host up to six people. It was delivered as a gift to local cyclists who do not stop riding in the winter. The full functionality of the sauna was tested by 30 people last week on the banks of the Moldau River. We in colder sections of the United States can only hope that such a good idea gets imported -- and soon!

    Photo courtesy of Daniel Mourek, Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation

  • Watch Live TODAY: America's Great Outdoors Initiative

    Keith Laughlin, president of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), is an invited guest representing RTC and trails at the rollout of America's Great Outdoors Initiative. You can watch the live broadcast of the event, held today in Washington, D.C., including President Obama's remarks. 

    WHERE: www.whitehouse.gov/live
    WHEN: 4:45 p.m. TODAY!

  • Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Lafayette County, Missouri

    RECEIVE RAILROAD ABANDONMENT NOTICES FOR YOUR STATE VIA E-MAIL

    On or about January 31, 2011, Union Pacific Railroad Company filed for the abandonment of 2.91 miles of track in Lafayette County, Missouri. The corridor runs between Myrick and Lexington. We are providing this information because it presents an opportunity to develop a real regional asset: a multi-use trail that can accommodate hikers, bikers, equestrians and other appropriate uses.

    NEXT STEPS: If this corridor is suitable for trail use, we strongly urge local trail advocates, or an appropriate local, regional or state agency or organization, to take action now. A "boiler plate" letter (found here) can be filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the abandoning railroad using STB docket number AB-33 (sub-no. 297X). Filing this letter does not commit its authors to acquire the corridor; it merely gives time to develop a rail-trail proposal and undertake negotiations with the railroad. According to the information we have received, the deadline for filing this letter is March 2, 2011. Even if this deadline is missed, there is probably still time to contact the relevant parties, since the railroad may have experienced a delay in filing all of the paperwork, or the STB may still have jurisdiction over the corridor. However, it is important to take prompt action. The STB posts all abandonment decisions and filings on its Web site, including the complete filing for this corridor. More information on the rail corridor, including a map, can be found in this filing.

    The STB has imposed a $200 filing fee for all railbanking requests. Entities filing a railbanking request may request a fee waiver or reduction, and government agencies will receive an automatic fee waiver. Throughout the process, make sure local government officials and citizen activists are kept informed of the project's progress. We also recommend contacting your state trails coordinator or your state bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

    Both of these individuals are knowledgeable about state laws and resources and may be able to assist your community with this rail-trail project. Also, you may want to contact the abandoning railroad to add your name to their service list.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE: RTC's Web site may provide valuable tools as you plan for a rail-trail, including how-to manuals, the Trail-Building Toolbox, our Publications Library and the Trails & Greenways Listserv for trail advocates and professionals. These resources can be found within the "Trail-Building" section of our Web site. If you take advantage of this information and other resources promptly, you will be well on your way to creating a successful rail-trail in your community. For more information, or if you decide to pursue railbanking, please contact the National Office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Oakland County, Michigan

    RECEIVE RAILROAD ABANDONMENT NOTICES FOR YOUR STATE VIA E-MAIL

    On or about January 28, 2011, Michigan Air-Line Railroad Company filed for the abandonment of 5.45 miles of track in Oakland County, Michigan. The corridor begins at Haggerty Road and runs west. The filing states that the railroad wishes to "sell the right-of-way to an appropriate governmental entity for use as a recreational trail." We are providing this information because it presents an opportunity to develop a real regional asset: a multi-use trail that can accommodate hikers, bikers, equestrians and other appropriate uses.

    NEXT STEPS: If this corridor is suitable for trail use, we strongly urge local trail advocates, or an appropriate local, regional or state agency or organization, to take action now. A "boiler plate" letter (found here) can be filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the abandoning railroad using STB docket number AB-1053 (sub-no. 1X). Filing this letter does not commit its authors to acquire the corridor; it merely gives time to develop a rail-trail proposal and undertake negotiations with the railroad. According to the information we have received, the deadline for filing this letter is March 9, 2011. Even if this deadline is missed, there is probably still time to contact the relevant parties, since the railroad may have experienced a delay in filing all of the paperwork, or the STB may still have jurisdiction over the corridor. However, it is important to take prompt action. The STB posts all abandonment decisions and filings on its Web site, including the complete filing for this corridor. More information on the rail corridor, including a map, can be found in this filing.

    The STB has imposed a $200 filing fee for all railbanking requests. Entities filing a railbanking request may request a fee waiver or reduction, and government agencies will receive an automatic fee waiver. Throughout the process, make sure local government officials and citizen activists are kept informed of the project's progress. We also recommend contacting your state trails coordinator or your state bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

    Both of these individuals are knowledgeable about state laws and resources and may be able to assist your community with this rail-trail project. Also, you may want to contact the abandoning railroad to add your name to their service list.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE: RTC's Web site may provide valuable tools as you plan for a rail-trail, including how-to manuals, the Trail-Building Toolbox, our Publications Library and the Trails & Greenways Listserv for trail advocates and professionals. These resources can be found within the "Trail-Building" section of our website. If you take advantage of this information and other resources promptly, you will be well on your way to creating a successful rail-trail in your community. For more information, or if you decide to pursue railbanking, please contact the Midwest Office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

     

  • Can Wheels Give You Wings?

    When you think about it, there really haven't been too many new human-powered land vehicles being developed in recent years. We have bicycles, skateboards, inline skates, foot scooters...and what else?

    Well, we stumbled across "the what else" earlier this week: the StreetFlyer. Created by Dr. Carsten Mehring, the new recreational vehicle is a land version of hang gliding that simulates the feel of flying. The prototype, built by students at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., is a heavier version propelled by running on a flat surface or down a hill, and then lifting up the legs to "fly," similar to the way you would ride a skate board. Dr. Mehring is planning a second version that will be lighter and collapsible, using a refined carbon-fiber system and smaller wheels for easier transition from running to flying. We're not sure how StreetFlyers would work on trails--and you'll definitely want a helmet--but they're certainly a fun new twist on cycling!

    Photo courtesy of Carsten Mehring.

  • RTC Celebrates 25th Anniversary!

    On February 1, 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) opened its doors. For the last 25 years, we have made it our business to protect our past and transform our future through the use, development and advocacy of rail-trails.

    Then, there were fewer than 200 known rail-trails. Today, you'll find more than 1,600 rail-trails across the country, totally nearly 20,000 miles.

    Over the years, we've won some major victories, fought some tough battles and helped build a legacy of trails for generations to come. All of our accomplishments have been made possible because of the support of our members, donors and friends. Thank you for your contributions to the rail-trail movement, and for your enduring enthusiasm.

    Today, on our 25th anniversary, we want to wish you all, "Happy Trails!"

    25th Anniversary Logo © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • RTC Releases New Report on Trail Crossings at Major Roadways

    One of the challenges we face on urban pathways, and particularly in our work with the Compton Creek Bike Path, is how to get a continuous and extended trail experience when the trail is regularly bisected by major streets with high traffic volumes and speeds.

    Trail users need and should be able to get across these streets to continue their journeys. Many cities are able to bridge over or tunnel under these major streets, but in some cases it is not feasible or desirable to invest in grade separation.

    Fortunately, there are devices that can be used to improve the safety of these crossings with signs and markings, raised medians and refuge islands, and new beacons and signals. RTC's Western Regional Office has compiled a report of methods that can be used to improve at-grade mid-block crossings of multilane roadways, including examples of the treatments used together and examples of improved and planned crossings in California. You can download the report from our library.

  • Research Shows Zig-Zag Markings Create Safer Trail Crossings

    Back in April 2009, the very first post on RTC TrailBlog reported on an experiment by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) with zig-zag markings on roadways approaching trail crossings along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Now, more than a year later, the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research has released a report showing that the markings have reduced vehicle speeds and improved motorists' rate of yielding to trail users.

    "Before the study, we thought the zig-zag pavement markings would have an immediate impact on motorist awareness, but over time would lessen," researcher Lance E. Dougald said in a statement. "The markings actually had a sustained positive impact on speed reduction even after the markings had been in place for one year. One possible explanation for this is that markings installed within the roadway, especially unique markings, are more visible than signage and are less likely to blend into the roadside environment."

    These high-visibility markings are especially cost-effective when compared to other trail crossing controls such as flashing beacons. The report recommends that VDOT lead an effort to have these markings included in the next version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices so that traffic engineers across the nation implement it as a standard trail crossing marking.

    However, the report also notes that there are some drawbacks. Motorists "have limited understanding regarding the purpose of the markings," though this may improve as the markings become more commonplace. Finally, the markings did little to clear up continued confusion among both trail users and motorists regarding right-of-way at trail crossings.

    More coverage of the report is available at WTOP-FMTheWashCycle and the Washington Post.

    UPDATE 02/01/2011: Hawai'i County, Hi., also uses zig-zag markings to slow motorists at pedestrian crossings.

  • Team RTC Gearing Up for Climate Ride--and You're Invited!

    We're excited to announce that, for the third year in a row, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been named as a beneficiary of Climate Ride. If you've followed our friendship with Climate Ride, you'll know that we've been with them from the start, fielding Team RTC and supporting their important work that champions the bicycle as a viable, planet-friendly transportation alternative--a natural fit for us since rail-trails are often major arteries in a community's active transportation network.

    And this year, for the first time, participants can choose RTC from a list of nine beneficiaries that Climate Ride is supporting. That means if you sign up, your fundraising dollars can go directly to RTC to help support our work in communities around the country!

    Registration is open and filling fast for team members who want toTeam RTC on Climate Ride California experience Climate Ride with us this year. Luckily, you have two options: the classic Climate Ride NYC-DC ride, May 13-17, 2011, or Climate Ride California from Eureka to San Francisco, October 2-6, 2011.

    First up: Climate Ride NYC-DC. Starting in Manhattan, you'll experience epic biking, amazing scenery and dynamic speakers. You'll cycle through the Garden State, explore the historical Delaware River Valley, discover Pennsylvania's Amish Country, and pedal through horse heaven in Maryland before arriving at the U.S. Capitol in downtown D.C. This option offers an added bonus of allowing you to meet with the office of your congressional representative(s) after the ride.

    This fall: Climate Ride California begins under towering redwoods in Humboldt County, before turning west toward the coast for two full days of some of the most scenic cycling in America. After a quick spin through the Russian River Wine Country, Climate Riders will pedal across the Golden Gate Bridge to finish in Golden Gate Park! 

    "If you want to experience world-class biking while learning about renewable energy and meeting environmental and cycling leaders, you should sign up for Climate Ride," says RTC Policy Outreach Manager Kartik Sribarra, who rode with Team RTC during the first Climate Ride. "It's a life-changing adventure that combines action with supporting some crucial causes. And because you can raise funds directly for RTC, you're supporting the fight for trail-friendly policy and the creation of trail connections across the country."

    Both rides are fully-supported by a team of talented leader-hosts, bike mechanics, medics and massage therapists. Climate Ride is also one of the 'greenest' multi-day, cause-based rides in the world. Riders are asked to bring no bottled water (recyclable water bottles will be used, and filtered water will be provided by the title sponsor Brita). There are no disposable plates or cups, the support vehicles are hybrids and vans that run on veggie grease, and every effort is made to recycle and compost materials used on the ride. Along the way, Climate Ride's nightly speaker series will inform and entertain Climate Riders through educational talks about solutions to the climate crisis, bike advocacy and living green.

    The cost for each ride is a $75 registration fee, and then you raise a minimum of $2,400 to participate, with most of your fundraising money going directly to RTC if you choose RTC as your beneficiary of choice when you register. We'll see you on the ride!

    Photo: Members of Team RTC in 2010 before the first day of Climate Ride California  © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • RTC Signs On to Equity Caucus Statement

    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a member of Transportation for America (T4). Joining more than 70 other organizations, RTC signed on to T4's Equity Caucus response to last night's State of the Union Address. Read the full statement below: 

    "We applaud President Obama's State of the Union call for smart, targeted transportation investments that connect all Americans to opportunity.

    The infrastructure Americans build, operate, and repair today will create jobs now and lay the foundation for a competitive and prosperous tomorrow. But our inadequate, outdated, and underfunded transportation systems are keeping too many struggling Americans--young and old, rural and urban--from fully connecting and contributing to the national economy.

    Millions of Americans rely exclusively on public transit, walking, or biking to get to work, to the doctor's office, to school, and to the grocery store. Nearly 20 percent of African American households, 14 percent of Latino households, and 13 percent of Asian households live without a car. Fifteen percent of Native Americans must travel more than 100 miles to access basic services.

    Smarter transportation investments can unleash the under-realized economic power of communities across America.

    We look forward to working with President Obama and Congress to move forward a surface transportation authorization in 2011 with investments that:

    • Create affordable and flexible transportation options for everyone, regardless of income, race, age, disability, or background;
    • Create, protect, and ensure fair access to quality jobs, training, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry;
    • Promote healthy, safe, and inclusive communities with housing opportunities for families of all incomes; and
    • Encourage fair and transparent investment of public dollars invested in transportation.

    The American people want these changes, too. A recent Transportation for America poll revealed that more than two-thirds say they "would like more transportation options."

    By investing in transportation projects, America can get people back to work now, lay a strong foundation for future economic growth, and expand opportunity for millions of people. But we must target our investments equitably to the people and places that need them the most.

    Americans are ready to get back to work building our future."

    The Equity Caucus at Transportation for America--formed by the nation's leading civil rights, community development, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women's, and transportation organizations--drives transportation policies that advance economic and social equity in America. 

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