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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's petition to AAA was discontinued at midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, in anticipation of the delivery of all the petition signatures on Monday, Dec. 13 to AAA National headquarters in Heathrow, Fla.

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RTC President Keith Laughlin speaks to media, cyclists

RTC President Keith Laughlin speaks
to cyclists and the media before
delivering the petition to AAA.

On Monday, December 13, 2010, RTC President Keith Laughlin—flanked by 35 cyclists on an unusually frigid morning in Heathrow, Fla.—delivered the names of more than 51,000 petition signers to the American Automobile Association (AAA), calling for the support of critical, established programs that fund trails, walking and bicycling

After thanking everyone for braving the cold, Laughlin led the procession of cyclists on a four-mile ride starting from Out-Spoke’N Bike Shop in Lake Mary, Fla., to the Cross Seminole Trail and then on to the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, just across the street from AAA’s front door. Gathering on the Seminole-Wekiva and facing AAA’s national headquarters, cyclists met with members of the media and heard comments from Laughlin, Florida Bicycle Association President Laura Hallam, Vice President of Mitchell Auto Group Steven Mitchell from Connecticut, and Out-Spoke’N Bike Shop owner Michael Cottle.

Cyclists then rode to AAA’s headquarters and were admitted into the lobby where Laughlin and Hallam handed the petitions over to AAA representatives. A brief conversation followed, during which Laughlin reiterated RTC’s—and 51,000 other Americans’—disappointment with AAA.

The petition, which included the names of more than 33,000 paying members of AAA, was the result of a months-long campaign following a policy position originally advocated by AAA Mid-Atlantic, and later adopted by AAA National. The position would orphan crucial walking and bicycling programs from our nation’s transportation trust fund, forcing these necessary elements of a balanced transportation system to scramble for scarce dollars from our nation’s general fund.

Keith Laughlin and Laura Hallam enter AAA

RTC President Keith Laughlin and FBA
President Laura Hallam enter AAA
to deliver the petition.

This petition campaign to AAA would not have been possible without the tens of thousands of individuals around the country who signed the petition and encouraged their friends and families to do so. Although the petition has been delivered, our work is far from finished! RTC continues fighting for a balanced transportation system, ensuring that AAA’s attempt to exclude all but automobiles from the transportation trust fund does not succeed in the U.S. Congress.

For more background, read RTC’s "What is AAA Saying?" page, which also includes the entire chain of correspondence with AAA, starting with AAA Mid-Atlantic President and CEO Don Gagnon's original article.

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AAA Petition in the Media:

The AAA story—and especially the delivery—has been spotlighted in various media outlets. Below is a compilation of these stories.

Do you know of media coverage for this campaign that is not listed below? Please tell us about it!

 

Photos: © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy



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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 150,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 150,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.