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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 6, 2000
Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 2-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces $3.6 Million in Funding for Millennium Trails

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced that $3.6 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) discretionary funds will be provided to four trails associated with the Millennium Trails Initiative.

"I am very pleased that we are taking another step toward creating a network of millennium trails that reflect the unique spirit of their states and the collective history of our nation," said First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Because when we build and nurture these trails, we are doing more than enriching our environment. We are helping to connect people with their land and their neighbors, and ultimately, with their past and their future."

The Millennium Trails Initiative is a collaborative effort of the White House Millennium Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The initiative also received major contributions from the American Express Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A total of 50 Millennium Legacy Trails were announced Oct. 21 at a White House ceremony featuring the First Lady, Secretary Slater and state and local officials from across the country. Sixteen National Millennium Trails were announced in June 1999 and 2,000 Community Millennium Trails will be designated as part of National Trails Day in June 2000.

"Transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete and steel it's about people, so it's particularly appropriate that our announcement coincides with the beginning of a new millennium," said Secretary Slater. "The Millennium Trails Initiative connects our nation's landscape, heritage and culture and demonstrates our national commitment to improving the quality of life for all Americans."

Three categories of millennium trails are being designated: National, Legacy and Community. The four trails projects receiving funds are the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in California, a National Millennium Trail, which received $200,000; two Millennium Legacy Trails: the historic Columbia River State Highway Trail in Oregon, which received $435,500, and the Blackstone River Bikeway in Rhode Island, which received $1.7 million; and the Teton Pass Trail in Idaho and Wyoming, which is expected to be nominated as one of 2,000 Community Millennium Trails, received $1.3 million.

"The Millennium Trails Initiative is a way to connect America's past to its future," Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "The trails include long-distance trails, rail and water trails, greenway systems and historical and cultural trails, all of which are a vital part of our nation's heritage."

The FHWA allocated a total of $42.8 million for public lands, which includes the four millennium trails projects. In addition, the agency provided $20.3 million for scenic byways; $88.5 million for interstate maintenance; $65.3 million for major bridge repair; $21.8 million for seismic retrofitting for bridges; $15.9 million for innovative bridge research; and $31.4 million for ferry boats and terminals.

FHWA discretionary funds are made available upon selection by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation after requests from states for funds for projects that meet criteria established by federal law and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations and procedures.

For additional information regarding the Millennium Trails Initiative, go to http://www.millenniumtrails.org/

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