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FHWA's Mary Peters comments at National Trails Symposium

Remarks at the 2004 National Trails Symposium by FHWA Administrator Mary Peters via a 7-minute video.

By Mary Peters

"As the value of trails is rediscovered by new generations, I applaud your efforts."

It is my pleasure to join you today... and it's an honor to represent President Bush and Secretary Mineta.

American Trails, and trail advocates everywhere, are important partners for transportation and recreation. As an organization counting itself among the trail advocates, let me say we are proud to have made pedestrian safety one of the Federal Highway Administration's key missions. By providing safe places for walkers and bicyclists to enjoy nature, trails are a vital part of the safety picture.

The Federal Highway Administration shares your dedication to the preservation of historic trails and celebrating their contributions to our shared national heritage. They are America's common ground... ribbons of history connecting generations old and new.

Similarly, recreation is very important to the American people. Outdoor recreation promotes health, fitness and environmental awareness... Trails help Americans fulfill this need. It is amazing what good a simple thing like walking in the fresh air can do.

The Federal Highway Administration provides hundreds of millions of dollars annually for transportation improvements serving recreational interests through programs like the Federal Lands Highway, Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancements and National Scenic Byways Programs.

Programs like these fuel recreational travel... and recreation is the largest and fastest growing use of Federal and Indian lands. Many local economies depend on the visitors and users of Federal lands. Each year, more than 900 million people visit National parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

I should point out that, through the Recreational Trails Program, the Federal Highway Administration provides $60 million annually to States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

Since 1993, more than 8,000 recreational trail projects have been advanced with over $250 million in RTP funds. All kinds of trails benefit, whether for hiking, equestrian, all terrain vehicles or dirt bikes, cross country skiing or snowmobiling.

Transportation Enhancement Activities promote nonmotorized transportation and scenic and historic qualities within communities.

Since 1992, more than 18,000 TE projects have been selected for funding, totaling more than $5.4 billion.

  • About one third of these projects are trail related, enhancing healthy physical activity.
  • Another third benefits historic preservation and increases our appreciation of historic resources.
  • The remainder includes projects to protect scenic views that enhance the travel experience, museums or improvements to wetlands and wildlife habitat— preserving our environment for future generations.

We support American Trails' promotion of the National Trails Training Partnership... We participate in the Federal Interagency Council on Trails with our Federal land management partners. We support the Interagency Trails Training Course developed through the Bureau of Land Management.

We work with the US Forest Service to develop guidance documents to promote better trail construction and maintenance.

We have also worked with trail organizations and other agencies throughout the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop trail design and construction guides, including a Rails-with-Trails best practices guide that should be available later this year. These are only a few examples of our involvement with trails, and I have to say the trail organizations have done excellent work. We can't be more happy to be partnering with them.

The Federal Highway Administration supports your efforts. As the value of trails is rediscovered by new generations, I applaud your efforts.

Enjoy the rest of the symposium, and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you through this video.

Index of articles on federal funding programs

Supporting trails and greenways

Interview with USDOT Secretary Mary Peters

Letter from American Trails to Secretary Peters

SecretaryPeters' remarks at 2004 Trails Symposium

Sen. Coburn's proposal to redirect federal bike funds

Rep. McHenry opposing bicycling and trails funding


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