Reps. Gomez, Stivers, and Senator Booker Introduce Bipartisan Transit to Trails Act

Washington, September 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve equitable access to parks, public lands, waters, and green spaces for all. H.R. 4273 – the Transit to Trails Act – directs the Department of Transportation to establish the Transit to Trails Grant program, a block grant program to fund accessible transportation systems in critically underserved communities.

According to the Wilderness Society, the lack of transportation options dissuades many families from visiting our nation’s public lands – land that belongs to the people. By prioritizing areas with a high need for transportation options, the Transit to Trails Act ensures that our public lands can be accessed by everyone.

“For too many working families, accessing our nation’s parks, public lands and green spaces presents a host of unique challenges and barriers, including limited economic mobility to a lack of public transportation options,” said Congressman Gomez. “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.”

“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,” 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 provides the opportunity for all to enjoy the great outdoor spaces our nation has to offer.”

“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,” said Congressman Stivers. “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,” said Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society. “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,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Outdoor Industry Association, Vice President of Government Affairs. “This is why we are proud to support Representative Gomez’s Transit to Trails Act that provides greater urban accessibility to our public lands through increased and affordable transportation options. We look forward to helping Representative Gomez pass this much-needed legislation that will help get more underserved Americans outside, 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,” said Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “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." 

Click here to read the legislation in its entirety.

The following organizations have endorsed the Transit to Trails Act:

21st Century Conservation Service Corps
American Heart Association
American Hiking Society
American Sportfishing Association
Association of Marina Industries
The City Project
Conservation Lands Foundation
The Corps Network
Green Latinos
Hip Hop Caucus
Hipcamp
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Federation
Latinos Outdoors
Los Angeles Nature for All Coalition
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Parks Conservation Association
The National Recreation and Parks Association
Nature for All Coalition
Outdoor Afro
Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
Outdoors Alliance for Kids
REI Co-op
RV Dealers Association
RV Industry Association
Sierra Club
Transforming Youth Outdoors
Trust for Public Lands
Washington Trails Association
The Wilderness Society
YMCA of USA

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