The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is excited to announce the opening of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) Program. Nominations will be accepted from August 1 – September 15.
Long-time PTBA members Dick and Joani Dufourd of RecConnect will be honored with two awards from the Coalition for Recreation Trails. One celebrates “Great Trails,” the new 350-page resource guide published by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC). Another award celebrates the the new Gypsum City OHV Park project (in Fort Dodge, Iowa). Congratulations, Dick and Joani!
Ten trail projects have been chosen by the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) as recipients of its Tom Petri Annual Achievement Awards in recognition of their outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. CRT has also recognized award winners in the Outstanding State Trail Program and Outstanding Recreational Trails Advisory Committee categories. These national awards, which honor Tom Petri, a former Member of Congress from Wisconsin and longtime champion of the RTP, will be presented at a special Capitol Hill ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2016 as part of the celebration of Great Outdoors Month.
The FAST Act, signed by the President on December 4, marks the beginning of the end for the Highway Trust Fund as we have known it. The $305 billion 5-year measure draws heavily on general funds (to the tune of $70 billion),andrelegates to a virtual anachronism the "user pays" principle thatwas the philosophic foundation of the federal-aid highway program for the past 60 years.
It's a sad but inevitable ending to what was once a bold and innovative concept to finance highway infrastructure. Without itthe Interstate Highway System would not have been built. But as the mission of the federal transportation program became more diffused and its scope vastly expanded (to includehighways, transit, railroads and freight in its latest authorization), it no longer makes sense for the highway users to bear the entire fiscal burden. Unwittingly, Congress has acknowledged the changed nature of the program andhas made the general taxpayer assume a major portion of the cost ofpreserving and improving thenation's transportation infrastructure.
Henceforth, the trendcan only go in one direction ----toward an ever greater share of the program financedwith general revenue. As the mission of theprogram becomes ever more diffused and resistance to increased motor fuel taxes continues, the rationale for maintainingthe Highway Trust Fund will becomeharder to defend. Not thatthere is any great outcry over the waning role of the Trust Fund and the user fee. As reported in press, the House transportationleaders "aren't losing sleep" over the bill'sreliance on general revenue. Nor isthe transportation community shedding any tears so long as the money keeps flowing.
The NewsBriefs are regularly published atwww.infrastructureUSA.org ; They are occasionally posted on other websites, notably newgeography.com; www.heartland.org; and Sunshine State News (FL) A listing of all recent NewsBriefs can be found at www.innobriefs.com
Rails to Trails Conservancy has just launched a new grant program for trails which we are very excited about and which may be of interest to some of your members, so I thought I would share the announcement with your organization and ask if you might be able to pass it on to those who might want to apply. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know!
CALL FOR PROPOSALS – NATIONWIDE TRAIL DEVELOPMENT GRANT PROGRAM
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is launching the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund to provide up to $85,000 per year to support trail development and improvement at the local and regional level. Through this new grant program, RTC will help organizations close gaps in their trail systems, build capacity and complete significant projects with long-term positive impact in their communities. Grants are available in the categories of Community Support ($5,000 - $10,000) and Project Transformation ($15,000 – $50,000); applicants also receive the benefit of access to RTC’s new Trail Expert Network, which will provide trail advocates across the nation with relevant news, policy information and technical assistance. Preference will be given to projects that support RTC’s mission of transforming unused rail corridors into vibrant public places, but all multi-use trail projects are eligible. Please consult our website for more information about the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund and to learn how to apply: http://www.railstotrails.org/our-work/doppelt-family-trail-development-fund/
Deadline: January 31, 2016 by 11 p.m. EST