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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater


Federal Highway Administration
October 5, 1998

Monday, October 5, 1998
Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 45-98

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater near Annapolis, Md., to kick off the national Millennium Trails program, an initiative of the White House Millennium Council, to recognize America’s transportation legacy.

"President Clinton and I want to ensure that we as a country honor our nation’s transportation history," Mrs. Clinton said. "Millennium Trails is a wonderful opportunity to showcase, protect and build on that legacy as we move into the 21st century."

Mrs. Clinton and Secretary Slater toured the scenic Baltimore and Annapolis Trail in Severna Park, Md., and unveiled a Millennium Trail logo. The B&A Trail is part of the planned East Coast Greenway, which will span 2,000 miles from Maine to Florida.

Under the project, 12 U.S. trails will be designated as flagship National Millennium Trails, 52 will be designated as Millennium Trails chosen by the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and more than 2,000 will be designated as Community Millennium Trails.

"Transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt and steel; it is about quality of life for the American people, today and in the future," Secretary Slater said. "The Millennium Trails project will help protect and enhance the nation’s natural environment, which is one of our top priorities at the Department of Transportation."

Besides designating the Millennium Trails, the project is devoted to enhancing, building and extending America’s overall trail system, which totals some 250,000 miles, more than six times the length of the nation’s Interstate Highway System. An initiative goal is to connect people, their land, their history and their culture.

Funding for the new trail projects, as well as the extension, completion and enhancement of existing trails, will come in part from the new Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the landmark surface transportation legislation that President Clinton signed into law on June 9, 1998. Public-private partnerships will provide additional funds.

Under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided about $2.7 billion to the states in transportation enhancement funds, about half of which was used for trails and bicycle-pedestrian pathways. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which is ISTEA’s successor, will provide $3.7 billion in transportation enhancement funds over the next six fiscal years, FY 1998-2003, as well as $270 million for the Recreational Trails program.

The Millennium Trails project is a major component in the larger White House Millennium Council initiative. Other projects include Save America’s Treasures, a broad-based effort to preserve the infrastructure of the nation’s heritage and culture; America’s Treasures On-Line, digitizing and disseminating documents and artifacts from museums and archives; the Mars Project, engaging students and others in imagining a human community in space; My History Is America’s History, encouraging families to preserve individual and community histories; and a series of Millennium Evenings at the White House, lectures and cultural showcase programs featuring prominent Americans.


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