McCain Amendment to Gut Transportation Enhancements Program Defeated


ASLA advocates swung into action today to help defeat an amendment offered by Senator John McCain (AZ) that would have eliminated 7 of the 12 Transportation Enhancements (TE) eligible categories, including the “Landscaping and Scenic Beautification” category.  Senate Amendment 739, offered to the fiscal year 2012 spending package (HR 2112), was tabled by a vote of 59-39, effectively killing the amendment.  This means that the TE program will, for now, remain unchanged and fully intact.

The Transportation Enhancements program successfully provides communities with a host of benefits using only around 2% of the federal transportation budget. The TE program is one of the most critical sources of federal funding for creating bicycle and walking paths and for connecting these networks to our daily activities including school, work, shopping, dining and other activities.  In addition, the TE program provides flexible funding to states to perform valuable streetscaping projects, mitigate stormwater runoff, and preserve and protect historic transportation buildings. 

ASLA spearheaded a coalition letter to senate offices urging opposition to the McCain Amendment that would have gutted the TE program. The Trust for Public Land, American Planning Association, American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, Alliance for Community Trees, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Environment America, the Center for Biodiversity, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation all joined in signing ASLA’s letter. In addition, ASLA’s grassroots activists inundated their Senators with messages opposing the McCain Amendment. 

Unfortunately, threats to the TE program still remain, with legislation to eliminate the program introduced in both the House and the Senate. ASLA will continue to lead efforts opposing eliminating or gutting the Transportation Enhancements program.   

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Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator