Proposed legislation provides resources to underserved communities with little access to parks and public lands
To increase equitable access to our nation’s parks, public lands, green spaces and waters, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have reintroduced the Transit to Trails Act. This bill seeks to lower the barriers to healthy outdoor activity faced by people across the country - especially those living in critically underserved communities that lack nearby parks, trails, and greenspace. Transportation remains a significant barrier for millions of people who would benefit from a chance to experience nature and the outdoors.
“Throughout the country, black and brown people have disproportionately suffered a lack of parks and green space, while bearing the brunt of higher levels of pollution in their air and water. The Transit to Trails Act is an important step toward improving the health and well-being of millions of people, by making outdoor experiences in nature accessible,” said Sharon Musa, Policy and Recreation Partnerships Fellow at The Wilderness Society. “This legislation is literally a breath of fresh air for communities struggling with obesity, asthma, diabetes and other illnesses related to inactivity.”
The Transit to Trails Act directs the Department of Transportation to establish a block-grant program to fund accessible transportation systems in communities with the greatest need. The improvement to mass transit options can also help reduce traffic congestion and parking problems, improve air quality, and cut back on run-off of polluted water into rivers and the ocean. The proposed legislation would also bring jobs to local communities through the maintenance and improvement of green spaces and provide a boost to the outdoor recreation industry – largely made up by small businesses that were hit hard by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and park closures over the past year.