WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) reintroduced a bill in the House and Senate 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.
A lack of transportation options often excludes those in underserved communities from accessing our public lands, which are national resources that should be readily available to all Americans. The Transit to Trails Act takes an equitable approach to help communities nationwide with the highest need for better sustainable public transportation options, making access to these public lands more affordable and accessible for all.
“Despite the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our country’s parks and public lands provide safe opportunities to spend time with loved ones outdoors. Yet low income communities and communities of color continue to face barriers to access due to inadequate public transportation,” said Senator Booker. “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 will give more opportunities for all to enjoy the great outdoor spaces our nation has to offer.”
“Our national parks and public lands have long been characterized as, ‘America’s Best Idea,’ but that’s only true if they’re accessible to all Americans,” said Congressman Gomez. “As we rebuild from this pandemic, we cannot exclude parks, green spaces, national monuments, and public lands and waters from our public health infrastructure. We value our time outside more than ever now, but for some, there are too many unique challenges and barriers, including limited economic mobility and a lack of public transportation options. The Transit to Trails act will help underserved communities benefit from educational and both physical and mental health opportunities, ensuring everyone – regardless of their zip code – can enjoy the outdoors, from our national parks to neighborhood playgrounds.”
The Transit to Trails Act has also been included in the landmark Environmental Justice for All Act introduced by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04).
The following Members of Congress are original cosponsors of the Transit to Trails Act: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Albio Sires (NJ-08), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07).
The following organizations support the Transit to Trails Act: America Walks, American Camp Association, American Heart Association, American Hiking Society, American Motorcyclist Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Trails, Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Arizona Trail Association, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, Avid 4 Adventure, Brown Folks Fishing, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Children & Nature Network, Choose Outdoors, Conservation Lands Foundation, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Disabled Hikers, ECOSS, Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park, Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, GirlTrek, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, GreenLatinos, Health Equity Council, Higher Ground, Hispanic Access Foundation, Hispanic Federation, Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Latinos Outdoors, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Recreation and Park Association, Nature For All Coalition, North Country Trail Association, Outdoor Asian, Outdoor Industry Association, OVTA, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Partnership for the National Trails, REI Co-op, Roberts & Associates, Seed Your Future, Sierra Club, SkyDay, SOS Outreach, The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, The Service Board, The Trust for Public Land, The Venture Out Project, Tiny Trees Preschool, Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Alpine Club, Washington Trails Association, Young Women Empowered, La Plazita Institute, and the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Quotes from endorsed organizations can be viewed here.
The full text of the legislation can be viewed here.