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Anacostia Trail Final Phase

Washington, D.C.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you Senator Cardin – our friend Ben – and thank you all very much.  We truly wouldn’t be here without the federal investments you secured for our region, Senator, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

It’s a great source of pride among Marylanders that our State is recognized as a national leader in so many important areas.  #1 in public education, thanks to record investments.  #1 in keeping down college tuition.  #1 in PHD scientists and engineers per capita.  #1 in innovation and entrepreneurship.

It’s our hope, that with the partnership of our friends in DC we can move forward from being a Top 10 bicycle friendly state — #3 in the northeast – to soon being #1.

Connections

There is an Iroquois principle that “we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

We’re here today, because the choices we make today about the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, are choices we make not only for ourselves, but for our children’s grandchildren;

We’re here because with this $1.5 million investment from Maryland (and the investments by our partners in DC and the Obama Administration) we have a unique opportunity to connect 60 miles of trails along the Anacostia watershed; and

We’re here, because every acre of open space, every mile of trail — every path we protect or connect, impacts our region in so many diverse yet interconnected ways.

In a sense, these trails are a metaphor for the choices we make together as a region: they’re all connected – and they will all outlast our finite time on this planet;

The health of our children and families, the health of our roads, the health of our waters, the health of our air, the health of our economy, the health of our shared future – all these things are mutually reinforcing.

Those of us who live within a mile of a park are 38% more likely to exercise on a regular basis.  Children who walk or bike to school are more likely to be attentive in class.  Communities and regions which provide real alternatives to driving have less traffic congestion and therefore healthier lands, waters, and air.

What’s more, by making our region not just a healthier place to live, but a happier one, we are a more attractive place to live and work and therefore we are better able to create, retain, and attract jobs and opportunity.

In short, when we create new opportunity for hiking, biking, running, and walking, good things happen.

And by making these choices today, we are able to insure that our children and theirs will be able to enjoy them tomorrow.

Conclusion

In these past five years, both the people of Washington and the people of Maryland have strengthened our cross-border partnerships in so many important and significant ways.  From the public safety partnerships with law enforcement that are saving lives,… to the environmental partnerships that are saving our waters,… to the transit partnerships that are “opening doors”,… to the regional economic partnerships that are creating jobs and expanding opportunity.

These choices matter, both for ourselves, and for the next seven generations.

With that, … my friend and yours, County Executive Rushern Baker.

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