Recreational Trails Program about to get Spiked!
U.S. Senate panel wants to kill trail funding program
November 04, 2011
A U.S. Senate committee has unveiled a draft proposal that would end the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides money to states to develop and maintain trails, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
On Nov. 4, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its proposed transportation funding authorization bill for the next two years, entitled "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" (MAP-21). The bill specifies what transportation programs are approved for federal funding. The panel is expected to vote on the bill on Nov. 9 before sending it to the full Senate for approval. If it clears the Senate, then it would go to the House for further consideration.
The RTP, which became law in 1991 as part of a federal transportation funding authorization bill, is considered to be one of the most important and beneficial laws for off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders ever passed by Congress.
AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman, who had a hand in creating the law in 1991 with BlueRibbon Coalition founder Clark Collins, has stated that abolishing the program would effectively create a tax increase on OHV riders because the RTP funds would no longer be designated for a program that benefits motorized trail users.
Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, was shocked by the committee's proposal.
"Motorcyclists should not be cut short," Allard said. "They pay the gasoline taxes that go to sustain the trails program. Many interests pull from the highway fund and do not pay into it. It becomes akin to a tax increase to the general fund.
"This program was created for trail users and is self-funded by the highway fuel taxes of trail users," Allard said. "Trail users see this program as a very essential part of their chosen form of recreation, and there's no reason to eliminate the program. The RTP pays for itself."
Funds for the RTP come from the federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. In other words, taxes generated by fuel used for OHV recreation -- by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks -- fund the RTP.
The RTP provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration. The RTP program benefits hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, ATV riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
"I urge all concerned riders to contact the members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and ask them to support continued funding for the Recreational Trails Program," Allard said. "Money for the program comes from off-highway riders, and should continue to be used to benefit off-highway riders."
The easiest way to contact lawmakers is by going to AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation.
The members of the committee are Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Also, Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
From American Motorcyclist Asc.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
HQ ACTION ALERT - Congress Attempts to Steal OHV Money from RTP
Earlier this year, I testified before the California State Legislature urging them not to steal money from the “user-pay/user-benefit” CA OHV Trust Fund. They were informed such an action would create an even greater distrust of state government if they did so. But as many of you already know, they took votes to approve the theft when pro-trail politicians were absent (using the sanitation facilities for 5 mins.) from the committee.
HQ Blog on the Stealing of CA OHV Trust Funds
Info and Copy of Letter to CA State Legislature
Now it seems our federal elected officials plan to steal and/or gut the Recreation Trails Program (a national version –more or less – of the CA OHV Program).
HQ wants to issue a national “all hands on deck” alert asking you to send a letter to your Congressional representative on this issue. Both AMA and ARRA have set up easy to use (I used them myself) alerts with letters they will send for you.
AMA Alert with Letter to Save RTP
ARRA Alert with Letter to Save RTP (go to “Action Needed” Section and click on RTP)
HQ says, “good luck” to future government bodies who ask us to “pay our own way” on recreation projects. What sort of message is government sending when it breaks a promise and then steals or guts a non-taxpayer funded user-pay/user-benefit dedicated fiscal stream to OHV and other forms of recreation? Talk about a thumb in the eye!
Posted by Don Amador at 6:39 AM 1 comments
Labels: congress stealing funds, Don Amador, raiding OHV trust fund, RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM, RTP
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
BRC Working With The CRT to SAVE RTP!
The Recreational Trails Program is in very deep trouble. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved transportation reauthorization legislation known as MAP-21 that would effectively eliminate the RTP by stripping the program of its dedicated funding.
But all hope is not lost.
As a member of the national Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), BRC has been working closely with CRT and its member organizations to identify key champions in the Senate with the aim of having an amendment restoring dedicated funding for the RTP added to the bill before it is considered by the full Senate.
Reaching this goal will not be possible without your help.
As part of an ongoing and historic grassroots effort from both motorized and non-motorized recreationists, groups of the CRT will be taking turns on a defined schedule to contact and tell their Senators to protect dedicated funding for this absolutely essential program. Everyone will also be contacting leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee, including Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA).
On the week that it is our scheduled turn to contact our Senators, the BlueRibbon Coalition will be making a concentrated effort to get our members and supporters to do their part and make those calls.
Stand by, our week is coming and we want to make it our best effort. We will notify you!
We are excited and pleased to take part in this groundswell of grassroots effort by all enthusiasts across the nation. We believe this will make a difference and ensure that RTP is funded into the future. We need to show the United States Senate just how many Americans are committed to the Recreational Trails Program. In working together, the very backbone of trails in America can be saved.
Again, stay tuned and get ready! Our week to make those calls is coming soon, and we will send out a call to action.
In the meantime, as you are thinking about this consider these key messages:
•Unless the bill is changed, MAP-21 will effectively eliminate the Recreational Trails Program.
•A call to amend MAP-21 to include dedicated funding for RTP.
•For the last two decades, RTP has received a portion of the gas taxes paid by users of off-highway motorized vehicles to fund trail building, maintenance and other trail-related projects. More than 13,000 projects have been funded across the country for all kinds of trail uses. This is a very successful program.
•At its current level of annual funding - $85 million - RTP receives less than 42% of the Federal Highway Administration's conservative estimate of the federal gas taxes paid by America's non-highway recreationists. The Senate bill would reduce that percentage to zero and represents a substantial new tax on motorized recreation enthusiasts.
•The return of gas taxes to trail users through the RTP is in keeping with the user-pay, user benefit philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund. Ending dedicated funding for RTP takes these gas taxes away from the people who pay them. Ending dedicated funding for RTP is bad public policy and just plain wrong.
•The RTP is the foundation of state trail programs. If the RTP loses its dedicated funding, organized trail planning and development will simply vanish in many areas of the country.
RTP at a critical stage in Washington DC
U.S. Senate spending bill drops RTP's dedicated funding
Immediate action requested
Dear BRC members and subscribers,
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) faces a critical hurdle in Washington DC. As you know, a portion of the tax you pay when you fill up your snowmobile, ATV, Dirt Bike, 4X4 or PWC is made available to develop and maintain thousands of miles of motorized (and non-motorized) trails across the nation.
But with the need to tighten the budget, some in Washington are looking at YOUR off-highway tax dollars as easy picking. For years the taxes you pay when you ride off-highway were dedicated to off-highway vehicle trails.
BRC is working with other national motorized and non-motorized advocacy groups in an effort to ensure tax fairness for OHV users who contribute tens of millions of dollars in gas taxes.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to consider legislation that would eliminate the RTP program's dedicated funding, and we need your help.
We are mindful not to constantly "spam" our members with endless action alerts. Our approach is to only send action alerts when it is critical and when efforts by our members will have a positive effect.
Folks, this is one of those times. The long-term viability of the RTP program is entering a critical stage. We need your help now to stop the Senate from stripping the dedicated funding from RTP.
Americans for Responsible Recreation, one of BRC's many partners, has a "click and send" email.
Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.
Public Lands Policy Director
208-237-1008 ext 102
RTP Update - Sen. Klobuchar to Offer Amendment to Restore RTP
Urge your Senators to Support Amendment
Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
We have an important addition to our previous update on the RTP program.
We have good news to report! Minnesota Senator Klobuchar is planning to offer an amendment to the senate transportation spending bill that would fully restore RTP funding.
This is huge news. If successful, both the House and Senate spending bills will protect the RTP program. At least for the time being!
Legislation looms that would eliminate the RTP's dedicated funding. BRC and other national OHV groups will continue our vigilance. Gas taxes paid by OHV users must be spent on OHV use and the RTP program is a successful self-funding "user pay user benefit" program.
Larry Smith and the folks over at Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) have another easy "click and send" email.
Please click to send an email to your Senators encouraging them to support the Klobuchar amendment!
Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 107
Key Senators announce support of RTP amendment.
Critical vote soon. Calls are STILL needed!
Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
Calls from recreational users, both motorized and non-motorized, are coming in by the hundreds, and Senators are responding! We just received word that North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Idaho Senator James Risch all signed on as co-sponsors of the Senate Rec Trails Amendment. See our previous alert here.
This is good news, but more calls and emails are needed. If you haven't already, please take advantage of ARRA's click-and-send webpage here.
Want to be even more effective? Take your OHV advocacy the next step. Contact your senator directly via phone with a simple message: "I support Minnesota Senator Klobuchar's amendment to the Senate transportation spending bill (S.1813)" (More info here)
To find the U.S. Senate office nearest you, click HERE and type in your zip code. Do it now!
Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 107
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