- Posted by admin
- On February 24, 2020
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Hello trail colleagues,
American Trails has served for years as a board member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) to support the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which has directly funded more than 25,000 trail projects nationwide since 1993. It’s time now for every trail supporter to help move new House legislation to improve and secure the future of the RTP.
American Trails and the CRT calls on all trail organizations and trail enthusiasts to take action immediately to continue and to expand the RTP, the national trails assistance program that aids all trail activities nationwide through use of federal non-highway recreational fuel taxes.
A huge step occurred late last year when the Congress instructed the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a timely estimate of the fuel tax generated through non-highway recreational activities in its FY2020 budget and included RTP reauthorization in key Senate legislation creating the next-gen surface transportation program. Now, action in the House of Representatives is underway and underscores the bipartisan and coast-to- coast support RTP enjoys in the Congress.
US Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT), John Curtis (R-UT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Chris Stewart (R- UT) introduced the Recreational Trails Full Funding Act of 2020 (HR 5797) that will more than double funding for the RTP and make other important changes. HR 5797 will:
● require completion of the nonhighway recreational fuel use study at least every five years and reports to Congress on the results;
● increase RTP funding to $250 million annually – from $84 million currently – or to the new estimated amount from the mandated studies;
● establish new reporting standards for projects completed with RTP funds to provide increased transparency;
● simplify and increase funding of administration of RTP by FHWA; and
● re-establish the original formula for apportionment of RTP funds to the states.
The successes of RTP are easier to understand than ever through CRT’s new website at www.rectrails.org which includes a copy of HR 5797, new infographics explaining the RTP program and links to key data, including information about completed projects in each state.
CRT’s Board of Directors now asks each trail enthusiast organization, recreation industry association and trail advocates to take these actions now:
1. Use your print and electronic communications channels to share news of HR 5797 and other recent Congressional actions which would continue and expand the RTP, providing safe and healthy trail opportunities for all Americans. Send copies of your stories to CRT at CRTLeadership@rectrails.org.
2. Retweet the great tweet by US Representatives Welch and Curtis at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch…
3. Contact your Representative and those Members with strong relations to your organization and ask them to cosponsor HR 5797, the Recreational Trails Full Funding Act. Interested Members in the House should contact Alex Piper (Welch) at Alex.Piper@mail.house.gov or Jake Bornstein (Curtis) at Jake.Bornstein@mail.house.gov.
4. Ask your Senators to support the similar Senate bill, S. 1527.
5. Express your thanks to HR 5797’s cosponsors for being RTP Champions:
· The Hon. Peter Welch
· The Hon. John Curtis
· The Hon. Angie Craig
· The Hon. Annie Kuster
· The Hon. Mike Simpson
· The Hon. Chris Stewart
When contacting your representative, you can use the following language:
The nation’s recreational trails community strongly supports HR 5797, strengthening and extending the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). We deeply appreciate your national leadership efforts on this important issue. This legislation would ensure that the remarkable successes of the RTP since its 1991 creation will continue and provide safe, enjoyable trails and access to the Great Outdoors for millions of Americans. The measure requires a Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Study, better reporting of RTP projects and increased funding.
RTP is a partner-based program uniting federal/state/local agencies, enthusiasts and the recreation industry and is unique in its support of trail maintenance. More than 25,000 projects and programs have been completed, contributing to our economy, to our health and safety, and to greater access to our public lands.
Adventure Cycling Association
American Council of Snowmobile Associations
American Hiking Society
American Horse Council
American Motorcyclist Association
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
Back Country Horsemen of America
The Corps Network
Equine Land Conservation Resource
International Association of Snowmobile Administrators
International Mountain Bicycling Association
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Association of State Park Directors
National Association of State Trail Administrators
National Park Hospitality Association
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
National Recreation and Park Association
National Wildlife Federation
Off-Road Business Association
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
People for Bikes
Professional Trail Builders Association
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
SnowSports Industries America
Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Sports and Fitness Association
The Student Conservation Association
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
Check the CRT website for updates: www.rectrails.org.
The American Trails Team