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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AAA Wants to Block Spending on Greenways and Trails

The American Automobile Association want to remove all Greenway and Trail funding from the federal highway budget. The president of AAA Mid-Atlantic recently advocated for the elimination of existing federal dollars that help build bicycle and pedestrian trails and sidewalks. These funds have helped create more than 19,000 miles of trails, walking and bicycling facilities across the country—likely including your favorite nearby trail.

AAA encourages its members to get outdoors and explore the country—including by bicycle—so why do they support cutting programs that help their members do precisely that?

On September 1, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy President Keith Laughlin sent a letter asking this question to AAA. Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA, was quick to respond yet he did not address our central concern.

AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests that an $89 billion annual highway fund shortfall can be blamed on investments in walking and bicycling. But those investments total less than $1 billion annually and produce tremendous benefits for everyone, including drivers.

The reality is that many bicyclists drive, support AAA, pay gas taxes and want balanced transportation systems that provide the choice to get around in a variety of ways—for commuting or daily errands, or for fun and exercise.

If AAA’s false ideas take root, America’s transportation future—one where communities are more livable and people have safe and convenient choices for getting around—is in jeopardy.

Help us show AAA that trail, walking and bicycling programs actually benefit everyone, very much including their own members! Time for some letter writing to confront this mis-directed policy. See more HERE.

1 comment:

  1. There is an old debate over whether money spent on greenways is well spent, if we look at them as transportation rather than recreation/exercise. The argument against them is that they never go to destinations people really go, nor is it possible for them to do so. This debate can also be termed the class I (greenways) vs class II (bike lanes) facilities debate. So with a finite number of dollars to go around, which should get priority?

    I'll readily agree that for recreation, greenways are excellent. FWIW, in less built-up areas with few intersections but high speed traffic, a parallel greenway can be a wonderful transportation facility (current Knoxville/Knox County plans include such on several suburban/rural arterials).