getting where we want to be

EcoCity transportation program manager Ryan McKenzie provides news and commentary on what's happening to improve transportation choices in Northeast Ohio and at state & national levels. Get updates on road policies, transit, bicycling, walking, freight, and other transport-related topics, all viewed from EcoCity's sustainability perspective.

"Active Transportation" campaign
We've recently discovered a website promoting the virtues of active transportation -- walking and bicycling for daily travel needs. The site shares stories about how everyday people have overcome barriers such as heat, cold, and hills to get more exercise and reduce the environmental and social impacts of transportation in their communities.

Each month, several individuals, worksites, schools and communities are recognized for using, facilitating or promiting the use of active modes of transportation.

The organizers of the site encourage people to submit their own stories and photos, and are offering prizes of gear and apparel related to each month's theme.

Congress debating Amtrak funding
This news comes from our friends at the Surface Transportation Policy Project in D.C., who have done excellent work since 1991 to promote affordable transportation choices that contribute to more livable communities.

Rep. LaTourette deserves praise and thanks for stepping in to preserve what little intercity passenger service the Cleveland area currently offers.
[From STPP]:
The House of Representatives is now debating the FY'06 Transportation/Treasury Appropriations bill (H.R. 3058) where Amtrak funding is the priority concern for our coalition. The pending bill proposed $550 million for Amtrak for the upcoming fiscal year, a level of funding which effectively terminates the nation’s intercity passenger rail system.

Later today or tomorrow morning, Representatives Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and James Oberstar (D-MN) will offer an amendment to restore Amtrak's funding level to current spending or about $1.2 billion. The amendment proposes an array of offsets in the bill to pay for the increase in Amtrak funding.

Please contact House offices immediately to urge support for the LaTourette/Oberstar amendment. In contacting these offices, also urge support for an amendment by Corinne Brown (D-FL) that strikes language in the bill prohibiting Amtrak from funding certain routes. (Below is an analysis that shows the routes that would be discontinued under the Committee-approved spending restrictions.) You can contact your House Members by calling 202/225-3121 and asking for your Representative’s office.

June 29, 2005
Dear Colleague:
In addition to funding Amtrak at shutdown levels, the FY2006 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill specifically eliminates 15 long distance trains and three shorter distance routes, some of which provide essential transportation services to rural areas.
o RT16A and RT19 and RT48: Silver Service/Silver Meteor/Palmetto from New York to Miami via Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Charleston, SC, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Ft. Lauderdale. Serves 738,241 passengers.
o RT 18: Cardinal from Washington to Chicago via Huntington, WV, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Serves 88,930 passengers.
o RT22: Wolverine between Pontiac and Chicago. Serves 366,291 passengers.
o RT25: Empire Builder between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest to Seattle or Portland. Serves 437,191 passengers.
o RT26: Capitol Limited from Washington to Chicago via Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Toledo. Serves 180,810 passengers.
o RT27: California Zephyr from Chicago to Oakland via Omaha, Lincoln, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno, and Sacramento. Serves 335,764 passengers.
o RT28: Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles via Kansas City, Topeka, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff. Serves 290,003 passengers.
o RT30: City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans via Memphis. Serves 190,017 passengers.
o RT32: Texas Eagle from Chicago to Los Angeles via Springfield, St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Tucson. Serves 234,619 passengers.
o RT33: Sunset Limited Orlando to Los Angeles via Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, and Tucson. Serves 96,426 passengers.
o RT34: Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles via Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Barbara. Serves 415,598 passengers.
o RT45: Lake Short Ltd from New York to Chicago via Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Toledo. Serves 279,662 passengers.
o RT52: Crescent from New York to New Orleans via Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Serves 256,577 passengers.
o RT54: Hoosier State from Chicago to Indianapolis. Serves 17,934 passengers.
o RT63: Auto Train, which takes the passenger and their vehicle nonstop from Lorton, Virginia to Florida. Serves 197,483 passengers.
o RT66: Carolinian from Charlotte and New York City, with stops in Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Serves 305,016 passengers.
A map of these routes is attached, showing the 23 states that would lose all service if this amendment is not adopted. According to the Department of Transportation's Inspector General, eliminating all long-distance routes will only save $300 million for Amtrak, and those savings would not come in the first year due to mandatory labor compensation. Mandatory labor compensation for elimination of these routes is about $360 million, well over half of the $550 million provided in the FY2006 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill. Don't leave 4,430,562 waiting for the train!
Support the Brown-Menendez-Rahall amendment to keep these Amtrak trains on-track!

Corrine Brown
Robert Menendez
Nick J. Rahall, II

Members of Congress

Ohio Recretational Trails Plan
Found in today's mail, from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

ODNR has published the first state trails plan for Ohio since the mid-1970's "as a tool for improving existing trails in the state and to guide the smart planning of future trails."

The plan is available at

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