FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Mountain Branch
Contact: Wyvonne Phillips, Byway Manager
135 W Main Street, Trinidad, CO 81082
August 12, 2003
Santa Fe Trail Mountain Branch Scenic Byway Funding in Jeopardy
On July 24, the full House Committee on Appropriations approved legislation establishing the budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation for Fiscal Year 2004 - the year which begins October 1, 2003. Included in the committee's action were a number of contentious steps involving Transportation Enhancements and scenic byways. If the scenic byways provision is not altered, there will not be ANY funds available for award by the Federal Highway Administration next year under the traditional merit selection process.
Our goal is to get Chairman Young and the other leaders of the T&I
Committee to contest this action when the legislation
reaches the House floor in September - and to urge the Senate to adopt legislation without the earmarking.
As someone who has participated in the scenic byways grant process and understands the value of this merit-based program, you need to take the time now to stop this very serious attack on the National Scenic Byways Program. While earmarking has occurred in the last two fiscal years, most of the funding has remained available for merit-based awards. That would change in FY04 under the House committee plan.
You should write protesting this action immediately. Your letters should note any funding requests you now have pending or in planning stages, and should say that your projects can compete on merit and shouldn't be decided behind closed doors on political grounds. You also need to get as many other local allies of your byway to write as well.
Time is very short. There are just a few legislative steps left to go before this earmarking is final:
1) the House has to approve the transportation appropriations bill;
2) the Senate has to approve its own transportation appropriations bill; and
3) the House and Senate have to go to conference and finalize the legislation. All of this will happen in early September. As a result, your communications are needed BY AUGUST 15. Fax or e-mail your letters to:
1) Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, 308 Russell Senate Office Bldg.,
Washington, DC 20510, 202-224-5852, fax- 202-228-4609
Senator Wayne Allard, 525 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington , D.C. 20510, 202-224-5941, fax-202-224-6471
Congressman Scott McInnis, 320 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-4761, fax- 202-226-0622
Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, 1208 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-4676, fax- 202- 225-5870
2) Chairman Young
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515,and his Democratic counterpart (and byways program godfather), the Honorable Jim Oberstar, Ranking Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.
www.santafetrailscenicandhistoricbyway.org strongly opposes earmarking of National Scenic Byways Program funds, and asks for you help in maintaining the integrity of this unique and successful program. The Byway has a page at the above url to assist you in making contact with these representatives. Please take the time to support your scenic Byway by visiting the web site.