The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act authorizes $500 million each year for a nationwide network of safe walking and biking routes


Washington (March 4, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) today introduced the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, legislation that would dedicate $500 million in federal funds annually for grants to local, regional and state government entities to connect walking and biking infrastructure into active transportation networks that allow people to reach destinations within a community, as well as active transportation spines that allow people to travel between communities.


Nearly half of all trips Americans take are within a 20-minute bicycle ride and more than 20 percent of all trips are within a 20-minute walk. Creating connections between existing infrastructure for walking and biking will allow more people to safely walk, bike, and roll to the places they go every day to work, study, shop, dine, play, and live.


“We need a transportation transformation in this country,” said Senator Markey. “Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities are on the rise, and expanding active transportation networks will help address the national safety crisis on our streets. This bill will also reduce pollution and traffic congestion, while promoting new mobility options for people of all ages and abilities. I am proud to lead this essential legislation and thank Senator Van Hollen for his partnership.”


“As we work to modernize our transportation infrastructure across our country, it’s crucial that we expand the ways people can move around in our communities,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Not only are walking and biking better for our environment, they also improve Americans’ health and fitness. And expanding these alternatives also reduces congestion on our roadways. Maryland is fortunate to have many options for walkers, hikers, and bikers, and this funding will allow us to further expand these networks to better connect communities in urban and rural areas alike. I’m proud to join Senator Markey in introducing this legislation.”


A copy of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act can be found HERE.


Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate. Companion legislation was recently introduced in the House by Representatives Pappas (NH-01), Lipinski (IL-03), and Huffman (CA-02).


“Smart infrastructure connects Americans with the people and places most important to them,” said Congressman Pappas. “This legislation will expand our active transportation networks, providing additional ways to knit communities together, support recreation, and respect our environment. It also makes good economic sense as these strategic investments in infrastructure throughout the state will bolster local economies and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. I look forward to working with my colleagues to fund active transportation networks that will improve connections and support healthy, vibrant communities.” 


The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act is endorsed by: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling, America Walks, American College of Sports Medicine, American Public Health Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Trails, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, East Coast Greenway, League of American Bicyclists, LOCUS, National Disability Rights Network, National League of Cities, National Recreation and Parks Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Outdoor Industry Association, People for Bikes, Policy Link, Project for Public Spaces, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, Transportation for America, and Trust for America’s Health.


“Senator Van Hollen’s and Senator Markey’s leadership in calling for federal policy to invest in and accelerate the development of active transportation systems nationwide is exactly what our country needs right now,” said Kevin Mills, Vice President of Policy for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which is leading an organizing effort to inspire a visionary transportation reauthorization bill. “As Congress debates America’s federal transportation policy, decisions made today will shape the future of transportation for decades to come. We have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the country’s 36,000 miles of existing multiuse trails help communities and regions connect active transportation infrastructure—trails, bikeways and sidewalks—to create safe, convenient walking and biking routes that get people where they need to go. This is our chance to create a transportation system that works for everyone, whether or not they drive a car.”


“Connected communities are stronger communities, and the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act will create reliable transportation networks that make cities, towns and villages better and safer places to work and play,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director for the National League of Cities. “Residents have been calling for better sidewalks and safer biking, and this legislation would deliver a national framework for connectivity and safety for our nation’s diverse communities.”


“Promoting active transportation—including biking and walking—as a safe and viable mode of transportation is essential to addressing climate change and providing people with affordable and convenient transportation choices,” said Scott Goldstein, Policy Director at Transportation for America. “By creating a network of connected trails in our communities, the Connecting America's Active Transportation System Act would help make biking and walking a priority. I commend Senators Van Hollen and Markey for their leadership.” 


“We know that connected trail networks have the unique power to knit communities together and drive local economies,” said Jenn Dice, Chief Operating Officer at PeopleForBikes. “Building for the future of vibrant and sustainable communities means prioritizing active transportation and accessible recreation. We’re all-in for the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act because investment in biking and walking infrastructure makes sense for people in rural, suburban and urban areas.”


“More active transportation options are a critical part of thriving communities and a climate-friendly transportation system,” said Ann Shikany, State and Federal Policy Advocate at NRDC. “By investing in walkways and bike paths, the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act would ensure our travel network becomes cleaner, greener and safer.”