Federal lawmakers are building support for continuing the law that earmarks a small but significant portion of gas-tax revenue that is paid by the users of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) for the creation of motorized and non-motorized trails, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Michael Michaud (D-Maine) are circulating a letter to their congressional colleagues asking them to support the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.
"There's a lot of talk in Congress about cutting federal spending but this program was created for trail users and is self-funded by the highway fuel taxes of trail users," said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. "Trail users see this program as a very essential part of their chosen form of recreation, and there's no reason to reduce the RTP within the federal highway bill reathorization. The RTP pays for itself."
The RTP funds 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 for both motorized and non-motorized use alike.
"The funding language is included in the federal transportation funding law that is up for renewal, and we need to act now to ensure that RTP funding remains in the bill," Moreland said.
"I urge all concerned riders to contact their federal lawmakers to ask them to support continued funding for the Recreational Trails Program," Moreland added. "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 through the Rights section
of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
The RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP program benefits hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.