WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails and active transportation advocacy organization, is encouraged by the number of FY22 RAISE grants—the competitive, multimodal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation—that include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
According to the organization, the volume of awards that account for the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians illustrates incredible demand for connected trails and active transportation infrastructure that make it safe and convenient for people to get to everyday destinations like jobs, schools, shopping and transit.
“The FY22 RAISE grants underscore the urgency that all communities—rural, suburban and urban—are feeling to provide safe and connected active transportation infrastructure that gets people where they need to go whether or not they have a car. Most grants accounted for the needs of bicyclist and pedestrians, which shows how much demand exists for this infrastructure nationwide,” said Kevin Mills, RTC’s vice president of policy.
Nationwide, RTC’s partners have shared over $7 billion in plans for projects that connect trail and active transportation infrastructure. According to RTC, fulfilling these plans would be transformative, with the potential to equitably deliver economic, health, safety, mobility and climate benefits. To realize these benefits, communities need sizeable grants—like those that RAISE can provide—to close gaps between existing sidewalks, bike lanes and multiuse trails to create seamless connections between where they live and the places they go every day.
Trails, and other walking and biking infrastructure, are eligible for funding through many programs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—otherwise known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—and are expected to be eligible for additional funding through the Inflation Reduction Act if it passes the House later this week. While these programs deliver significant investment for trails, walking and biking under certain circumstances, many communities will not take advantage without reliable funding focused on active transportation. The far-reaching demand for trails and other walking and biking infrastructure calls for programs that exclusively fund active transportation to ensure consistent progress in creating safe and convenient routes to daily destinations in communities nationwide.
“With these grants, US DOT has demonstrated its understanding that trails, walking and biking are fundamental to transformative and equitable community design that improves our quality of life. Looking ahead, it’s increasingly evident the need for sustained investment in connected active transportation infrastructure as well as the importance of focused programs to fund these projects like we have for air, rail and roads. Greater investment in grants for trails, walking and biking could deliver safe, equitable mobility to more Americans,” said Mills.
RTC advocates for transformative policy changes that increase funding for active transportation and create accountability for progress on climate, equity and safety. Learn more about RTC’s policy priorities and resources to support communities seeking public funding for active transportation infrastructure at railstotrails.org/trailstransform.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.organd @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.