The American Automobile Association (AAA) wants Congress to cut long-standing programs that support trails, biking and walking in order to divert those funds to the highway system. (Read the background.)
These programs have played a major role in the development of more than 19,000 miles of rail-trail across the country, most likely including your favorite local trail. These trails and other walking and bicycling facilities allow individuals across the country to enjoy the outdoors and safely and easily travel without a car for many short trips—while saving money and gas, and getting exercise in the process.
AAA has forgotten that bicyclists and trail lovers drive, support AAA, pay gas taxes and want balanced transportation systems that provide the choice to get around in a variety of ways.
We know that:
… if given the choice, Americans would allocate 22 percent of transportation funds to develop and improve bicycling and walking facilities—much, much more than is currently being funded.
… drivers can be bicyclists, too—Americans sometimes drive and other times bicycle or walk to reach destinations based on which is most convenient, pleasant, healthy or affordable for a given trip.
… bicyclists also drive—they pay their fair share of taxes to support all transportation modes.
… cyclists don’t only use trails and bike lanes for pleasure trips—they also use them as healthy commuting options and safe routes to school for their children.
… when more people choose trails and bike lanes for travel, the roads are less congested and create a better transportation experience for all.
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