Dear Community Advocate,
Based on recent conversations Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and others have had with Congressional staff and representatives, we would like to share new insights with you that will aid your active transportation case statement. Remember, case statements are due to RTC by June 30, 2008 so we can compile a national case statement that will be used to bolster congressional support for the campaign, starting in the fall.
For additional guidance on case statements, see Sec. 2.B of the campaign guidance document or this guidance e-mail on case statements.
Other previous campaign messages and newsletters are available here.
1) Build the Network
Active transportation funding has traditionally targeted individual bicycle and pedestrian projects. While many of these projects may connect to larger networks, our recent intelligence suggests that Congress will be most receptive to plans that are explicit about developing integrated active transportation networks. Proposals that convey a clear sense of priorities are also likely to be favored. Such proposals will focus your congressperson’s efforts on those projects that will deliver the best return on investment.
In your local active transportation case statement, try to emphasize connections between trails and on- and off-street bicycle and pedestrian networks. It is also wise to document the interface between active transportation systems, transit, and places where people live, work and play. Maps and images will significantly aid your effort to fully demonstrate the connected nature of your proposal.
Several communities have recently asked whether to include a budget with their case statements. After addressing the need for increased active transportation and demonstrated local commitment (covered in Section 2.B of the Campaign Guidance Document), completing a budget is the next logical step.
Each case statement should include a budget to demonstrate the nature and scope of infrastructure and program work that could be achieved under your plan. The format and level of detail are up to you, but we anticipate that most communities will provide budgets with a single estimated figure for each proposed project or program. Some communities may more generally answer the question, “What will $50 million do for our community’s active transportation system?” (This amount may be greater than $50 million if you opt to leverage these funds, as discussed below.) Line item budget details relating to individual projects are not expected at this time.
3) Leveraged Funding
Congress is more likely to support proposals that include a diverse set of backers. Therefore, documenting other sources of financial support for your local active transportation plans will likely strengthen your application. If you will partly rely on local, state or private sources of funding to implement your plans, use that as leverage to convince Congress that it will be a worthy investment of federal funds.