|As mentioned in a previous American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) alert, the future of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is in danger. The Senate has introduced legislation entitled MAP-21, which would end dedicated funding for the RTP. Concurrently, the House of Representatives is drafting its version that will also affect RTP. With the RTP’s future in question, Congress needs to be aware of the facts about the trails programs. RTP projects contribute to the development and maintenance of motorized recreation trails, and are vital investments in infrastructure that generate jobs and revenue for small businesses in rural economies.
The RTP funds represent a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected only 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. In an article in the American Motorcyclist magazine by AMA President and CEO, Rob Dingman, he stated, “If a user fee is diverted away from its intended purpose it becomes a tax increase on that user.”
Many elected officials believe the RTP is the same as “Transportation Enhancements” (TE). On Nov. 18, 2011, the AMA sent a letter to the leaders on transportation issues in Congress outlining the differences in RTP and TE and the importance of continuing the RTP.
Many members of Congress want to end TE because it funds historical museums, landscaping and pedestrian trails along roadways out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Unlike RTP that does contribute to the HTF, TE activities do not directly contribute any revenue to the trust fund.
The AMA needs your help to save dedicated funding for the RTP in the next federal transportation bill and that it is not TE. You can find contact information for your lawmakers at AmericanMotorcyclist.com> Rights > Issues & Legislation, then enter your zip code in the “Find your Officials” box. A prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your Senators and Representative immediately by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information.
Please email your Senators and Representative to educate them that RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program and as a motorized recreationist you pay for and support the RTP.