Recreational Trails Program Threatened by Budget Axe
Transportation reauthorization legislation, known as MAP-21, that passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee late last year is being brought up for a vote soon, possibly as early as this week! MAP-21 threatens the very existence of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) by eliminating the program’s dedicated funding. It is imperative that you take action to make sure that your Senators understand how important RTP is to you and that you urge them to amend the bill to protect the Recreational Trails Program!
Check out the projects funded by fuel taxes and you’ll agree that this is an important program. See for yourself all the great work that this program has done in Your STATE by going to the searchable database. You’ll find hiking, equestrian, cycling and other trail projects on the list.
A state will typically get several hundred thousand dollars annually to devote to maintaining recreation access and trails. States must use 30 percent for non-motorized trail uses, 40 percent for diverse trail uses, and 30 percent of their funds for motorized trail uses. Many States give extra credit in their selection criteria to projects that benefit multiple trail uses.
The money comes from the gas taxes generated by off-highway vehicles but RTP benefits equestrian, hiking, cycling and motorized trails. So RTP is really a self-funded program. The taxes will remain even if the RTP is zeroed out.
Contact your Senators. Ask them to restore funding for the Recreation Trails Program in MAP-21 legislation. Tell them that trail maintenance and recreational access depends on the RTP program which is paid for by taxes on fuels used by recreational vehicles. Use Congress.org to e-mail or print a letter to send to your Senators. Congress.org will require a quick registration, but this is a free and very valuable tool to use to contact members of Congress. It takes seconds to sign up. Book mark-it. Fax the letter if you send a printed letter since mail takes too long to reach them by regular mail.
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Tags: trails, trail funding, trail maintenance, recreational trails program