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  1. #1
    Almost Human
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    Recreational Trails Program needs your support ASAP

    About $600,000 annually goes to the non-motorized trail grants program in Colorado with an additional $600,000 going into the OHV programs.

    MAP-21 (National Transportation Plan) removes this funding along with other vital funding for non-motorized transportation programs.

    Last week the Perti Amendment failed in Congress which would have restored the funding for the RTP programs in MAP-21.

    This week another amendment (Klobuchar Amendment) has been introduced to restore the non-motorized funding in MAP-21.

    If you have a few minutes please drop a line to your elected officials and let them know you support the below amendment from Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).


    Contact your Representative by visiting https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


    Contact your Senators by visiting: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    (Talking Points can be found by following this link)

    I've also provided some info and a letter template below.


    Taken from:

    Take action to support funding for trails and bicycle-pedestrian programs


    IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
    : CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY OR TOMORROW and ask them to support Sen. Klobuchar’s amendment to include dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program in MAP-21. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has agreed to introduce an amendment to MAP-21 that will continue the RTP as a stand-alone program with its own funding. The amendment is expected to be introduced this week – so the time for action is now.

    If this amendment is approved, then the RTP should be protected in both the Senate and House transportation bills. However, for Sen. Klobuchar’s effort to be successful, we must build support for her amendment. We need you to

    The key messages are simple:

    • Unless the bill is changed, MAP-21 will effectively eliminate the Recreational Trails Program; and
    • Please support Senator Klobuchar’s MAP-21 amendment to include dedicated funding for RTP.

    Other helpful messages include:

    • For the last two decades, RTP has received a portion of the gas taxes paid by users of off-highway motorized vehicles to fund trail building, maintenance and other trail-related projects. More than 13,000 projects have been funded across the country for all kinds of trail uses. This is a very successful program.
    • At its current level of annual funding – $85 million – RTP receives less than 42% of the Federal Highway Administration’s conservative estimate of the federal gas taxes paid by America’s nonhighway recreationists. Unless it is amended, the Senate bill will reduce that percentage to zero and impose a substantial new tax on motorized recreation enthusiasts.
    • The return of gas taxes to trail users through the RTP is in keeping with the user-pay, user-benefit philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund. Ending dedicated funding for RTP takes these gas taxes away from the people who pay them. Ending dedicated funding for RTP is bad public policy and just plain wrong.
    • The RTP is the foundation of state trail programs. If the RTP loses its dedicated funding, organized trail planning and development will simply vanish in many areas of the country.

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    2/10/12

    United States Senate

    Dear Senator X,

    We are writing to request your support for the Klobuchar amendment to MAP-21, which restores dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).

    This amendment makes the Senate bill consistent with language that is already in the House bill. In addition, this amendment is consistent with the traditional purpose of the Recreational Trails Program – to direct the gas tax revenues generated by the users of off-highway recreational vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs, off-highway motorcycles, and four-wheel drive vehicles to a program to provide infrastructure for their activities.

    Under SAFETEA-LU, the Recreational Trails program was a mere 0.22% of the overall Federal-aid Highway Program, but represents a vital funding source that has built and maintained thousands of miles of trails – for motorized and nonmotorized users alike – in every state for close to 20 years.

    These trails bring not only enjoyment to many types of users, but also critical economic benefits to local communities. In many rural areas in particular, tourism is a vital part of the economy and trails are part of the infrastructure that supports this lifeline.

    A study by the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University for the North Carolina Department of Transportation found that a one-time investment of $6.7 million in federal, state, and local funds for new trails created 1,400 jobs and pays back $60 million a year. And these critical economic benefits of trails go far beyond tourism. For example, the Billings Chamber of Commerce has branded their community “Montana’s Trailhead,” because “talented people move to Billings in large part because of our trail system that creates the quality of life they are expecting,” according to Chamber CEO John Brewer. Billings certainly is attractive – Fortune magazine named Billings the number one small city in attracting business, and the private sector there has taken note. According to Brewer, “in Billings – and I think throughout the country – there has been a paradigm shift. Trails are no longer viewed as community amenities; they’re truly viewed as essential infrastructure for business recruitment.”

    As obesity rates reach record highs in our nation, now is also the time for Congress to show leadership in dedicating funding to a program whose primary purpose is to build and maintain infrastructure that empowers people to access the outdoors and be active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Active Community Environments Initiative (ACES) recognizes the catalyzing role that safe and accessible recreation facilities, like those built through the Recreational Trail Program, play in improving public health.

    The Klobuchar amendment actually provides the RTP with only a portion of the funding that has been historically generated by the user fees (gas tax revenues) of off-highway recreational vehicles. This is a program that pays for itself and provides tremendous benefits. Therefore, we urge you to support the Klobuchar amendment.


    Sincerely,


    Org Names Here



    EDIT: The Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School Programs are also being cut in MAP-21. The Amendment to restore funding for these is called Cardin/Cochran amendment...

    Just in case you want to support both Amendments...

    Thx,
    UT

  2. #2
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    The funding from the Federal Highway administration, the $600,000 you mention, is one of multiple sources that fund RTP in Colorado. This is the primary Federal funding and other funding streams are provided from State sources.

    MAP-21 combines programs into broader categories to give States more flexibility. Just because RTP doesn't have it's own category of funding doesn't mean it won't be funded. The proposed transportation authorization maintains current funding levels.

    Also, MAP 21 has not been passed. There are several pieces of the proposed legislation that the parties don't agree on, and there is even more discrepancy between the house and the senate versions of the proposed authorization.
    Last edited by Big Virgil; 02-14-2012 at 06:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Almost Human
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Virgil View Post
    The funding from the ....there is even more discrepancy between the house and the senate versions of the proposed authorization.
    In Colorado I agree with you that the affects are not as pronounced because we have GOCO and LWCF, surely some states rely on RTP more heavily?
    Revised Intial Apportionments FY 2012 - Apportionments Obligations - Funding - Recreational Trails - Environment - FHWA

    Non-motorized State Trails Grants in Colorado use 3 funding sources: GOCO, RTP and LWCF.

    RTP are taxes collected from OHV users filling up their tanks and are dedicated from those collections. That was the intent, that the money stayed with those who were paying the taxes.

    "RTP provided over 20% of the Snowmobile Program funding, a little less of the OHV Program funding and nearly 40% of the non-motorized programs' funding."

    GOCO is Colorado State Lottery funds.

    LWCF is funded with fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore and at one point LWCF faced a 90% cut last year. link One Senator called for eliminating it. LWCF survives right now, but who's to say that won't be the case in 2014?

    LWCF funding is volatile. Obama says he's going to increase it to $900 million. Who's to say Obama wins in 2012? It's around $300 million right now.

    "Though LWCF is authorized with a budget cap of $900 million annually, this cap has been met only twice during the program's nearly four decades of existence." Land and Water Conservation Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'm not aware of any other funding sources?

  4. #4
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    GOCO is the other big one. I think there is some funding from Forrest Service and BLM too. RTP also gets funding from Colorado OHV registration fees.

    RTP can use every penny they can get for their grantees.

  5. #5
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    With the federal budget spiraling out of control, isn't it time we all look at programs like this and think about ways to do this without building on the debt we own to china?
    I would rather see a program that cut red tape and allow civic groups to build and maintain trails without needing government money. Adding to the federal debt to pay people to do thing that volunteers should be able to do is the kind of reckles thinking thats going to bankrupt our country. It may be small amongst the entire federal budget, but we have to start cutting somewhere, and I would rather see funding cut for recreation programs than support for Medicare, or Social Security.

    We need to stop looking to the federal government for handouts, and start funding programs locally where locals can control, and maximize spending, without sending our money to Washington to be redistributed back to us.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    It may be small amongst the entire federal budget, but we have to start cutting somewhere, and I would rather see funding cut for recreation programs than support for Medicare, or Social Security.
    RTP it's not borrowed money from China. It's a gas tax levied on off-road vehicles and it's dedicated to be returned to those who pay the taxes.

    MAP-21 doesn't eliminate the funding, it removes the restrictions which dedicate the funding to the people who are paying the RTP taxes.

    Basically what it amounts to is other groups (environmentalists?) wanting to use tax revenue generated by and dedicated to motorized user groups to construct/maintain trails used by everyone, to use as the environmentalists wish instead.

    What if they started using your gas taxes to pay for Obamacare and said "to hell with roads, we don't like cars and we want to use your money for something else"?

    RTP was $39 million for the entire US last year. The National Park Service budget is over $3 billion. We give over $20 billion annually in foreign aid.

    If our government were serious about eliminating debt and reducing spending then maybe they should stop starting wars in foreign countries, close our borders, and make GE and Google pay the taxes they owe?

    And if environmentalists want OHV users gas tax money so badly then they should be paying pay the tax also. They've already tried to raid the OHV license fees and they need to keep their sticky fingers in their own cookie jar IMHO.

    Stealing from RTP is not the answer, it's unethical, and it sets a bad precedent.

  7. #7
    3 Legged Big Top
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    RTP it's not borrowed money from China. It's a gas tax levied on off-road vehicles and it's dedicated to be returned to those who pay the taxes.

    MAP-21 doesn't eliminate the funding, it removes the restrictions which dedicate the funding to the people who are paying the RTP taxes.

    Basically what it amounts to is other groups (environmentalists?) wanting to use tax revenue generated by and dedicated to motorized user groups to construct/maintain trails used by everyone, to use as the environmentalists wish instead.

    What if they started using your gas taxes to pay for Obamacare and said "to hell with roads, we don't like cars and we want to use your money for something else"?


    Stealing from RTP is not the answer, it's unethical, and it sets a bad precedent.
    Sorry for such a long quote, as well as the potential thread derail.

    I dont like this anymore then the rest of us here, just as I am not in favor of doing the same thing to TOPS on a local scale.

    I sure hope we are all on the same page and make sure this mess doesn't start playing out here in Colo Spgs.

    Governments big and small trying to redirect tax dollars is something we will always need to be aware of.

    Curtis

  8. #8
    Almost Human
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    Looks like IMBA also thinks the RTP is worth saving.

    Urgent - Speak Up For Trails Today! | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    "Eliminating dedicated funding for the RTP violates the "user-pay and user-benefit" philosophy undergirding the nation's surface transportation program. Eliminating funding converts a legitimate user fee into an unfair tax.

    Organized trail planning and development will simply vanish in many areas of the country. The elimination of the RTP represents a substantial new tax on motorized recreation enthusiasts. Ending dedicated funding for RTP takes these gas taxes away from the people who pay them."

  9. #9
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    Thanks UTrail for explaining this to me.

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