|On Nov. 4, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee released its proposed transportation funding authorization bill for the next two years, which specifies what transportation programs are approved for federal funding. This bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), eliminates the dedicated funds for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides dollars to states to develop and maintain trails.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, the RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program for off-highway vehicle recreation, which includes snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks.
By eliminating this program’s dedicated funds and diverting these fees away from trails, MAP-21 is creating what is essentially a new tax on responsible motorized recreationists.
If your Senator is on the committee that can change this bill, they need to hear from you immediately. This bill is scheduled for a vote by the EPW Committee on Wednesday, November 9, which makes calling the Senators on the committee the best way to get your message heard.
The Senators that need to be contacted 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.)
To call your Senator on the committee, click on “Take Action” to insert your zip code in the “Call Action” box to get your Senator’s phone number. Or, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator by name.
Call your Senator on the committee now and tell them to amend the transportation authorization bill to include the RTP as it exists in current law. RTP, as we now know it, is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program and eliminating it would create what is essentially a new tax on you and their other constituents that participate in responsible motorized recreation.