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Booker Introduces Transit to Trails Act

September 13, 2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), introduced a bill that promotes equitable access to parks, green spaces, and public lands and waters. The Transit to Trails Act creates a grant program to fund projects that make transportation to green spaces and public lands more accessible for critically underserved communities. Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced a companion measure in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

A lack of transportation options often excludes those in underserved communities from accessing our public lands, which are a national resource that should be readily available to all Americans. The Transit to Trails Act focuses on the areas of the country with the highest need for better transportation options and makes access to these public lands more equitable and convenient for all.

 

“Low income communities and communities of color should not face barriers to accessing our country’s parks and public lands due to inadequate public transportation,” Booker said. “Parks, open spaces, and public lands are among our nation’s greatest treasures, and they should be enjoyed by all Americans. By establishing a grant program to fund transportation projects for underserved communities, the Transit to Trails Act provides the opportunity for all to enjoy the great outdoor spaces our nation has to offer.”

 

 “For too many working families, accessing our nation’s parks, public lands and green spaces present a host of unique challenges and barriers, including limited economic mobility to a lack of public transportation options,” Gomez said. “Everyone – regardless of their income or zip code – should be able to enjoy all of the natural beauty and splendor our country has to offer, from our national parks and monuments to our neighborhood parks and playgrounds. Not only will the Transit to Trails Act ensure these special places are readily available to all, but it will also help underserved and marginalized communities take part in the educational, health, and enrichment opportunities associated with the outdoors.”

“As an Eagle Scout, the outdoors have always held a special place in my heart, and we owe it to the next generation to ensure that all kids have the same opportunity to experience some of the best America has to offer,” Stivers said. “I’m grateful to Representative Gomez for his efforts in introducing this legislation to remove barriers to the benefits of the great outdoors.”

“America’s parks and public lands belong to all of us,” Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society, said. “But many people, especially those in urban areas and low-income communities, face significant obstacles accessing these special places. Everyone deserves a chance to experience the beauty of nature, so The Wilderness Society welcomes this proposed legislation, dedicated to breaking down transportation barriers so families across the country can enjoy healthy outdoor activity.”

 “We talk a lot about access to our nation’s public lands – that usually means ensuring Americans’ rights to recreate on the awe-inspiring lands each of us owns as part of our national parks, monuments, forests and more,” Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Outdoor Industry Association, Vice President of Government Affairs, said. “This is why we are proud to support the Transit to Trails Act that provides greater urban and rural accessibility to our public lands through increased and affordable transportation options. We look forward to helping Representatives Gomez (D-CA) and Stivers (R-OH) and Senator Booker (D-NJ) pass this much-needed legislation that will help get more underserved Americans thriving outside and enjoying our public lands.”

 "A considerable barrier for Latino and urban communities to access nature and outdoor experiences is a lack of transportation to and from our public lands,” Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, said. “While access to parks and communing with family and community in the outdoors and nature is a core value to Latinos, only one third of Latinos live within walking distance of a park. We support any efforts, including Representative Jimmy Gomez's Transit to Trails Act, to reduce barriers for Latino

communities to access green and open spaces."  

"We know that when quality parks and trails are easily accessible, people are more likely to visit them," Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land said. “Right now, access to a car is one of the biggest barriers between many Americans and the outdoors. I'm thrilled to support this bill which would work to break down that barrier and provide more Americans with close to home outdoor opportunities."

The following organizations support the Transit to Trails Act:

-               American Hiking Society

-               National Parks Conservation Association

-               Conservation Lands Foundation

-               The City Project

-               Los Angeles Nature for All Coalition

-               The Corps Network

-               21st Century Conservation Service Corps

-               YMCA of USA

-               American Sportfishing Association

-               Association of Marina Industries

-               Green Latinos

-               Hipcamp

-               Hip Hop Caucus

-               Hispanic Access Foundation

-               Hispanic Federation

-               Latinos Outdoors

-               National Marine Manufacturers Association

-               Nature for All Coalition

-               Outdoor Afro

-               Outdoor Alliance

-               Outdoors Alliance for Kids

-               Outdoor Industry Association

-               RV Dealers Association

-               RV Industry Association

-               Sierra Club

-               The Wilderness Society

-               Transforming Youth Outdoors

-               Washington Trails Association

-               Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

-               Trust for Public Lands

-               REI Co-op

-               American Heart Association

-         National Recreation and Park Association