(from Rob Grant) Dear Members of the CRT Council of Advisors:
The Recreational Trails Program is in very deep trouble. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved transportation reauthorization legislation known as MAP-21 that would effectively eliminate the RTP by stripping the program of its dedicated funding.
But all hope is not lost.
CRT and its member organizations have been working to identify key Champions in the Senate with the aim of having an amendment to restore dedicated funding for the RTP added to the bill before it is considered by the full Senate.
Reaching this goal will not be possible without your help.
Now is the time for all organizations and individuals who support RTP to tell their Senators to protect dedicated funding for this absolutely essential program.
The key messages are simple:
· Unless the bill is changed, MAP-21 will effectively eliminate the Recreational Trails Program; and
· Please amend MAP-21 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. The Senate bill would reduce that percentage to zero and represents 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.
Now is the time to act. Write, email or call your two Senators. Here’s a link if you need it: http://www.senate.gov/. Make sure your entire grassroots organization is engaged as well.
We need to show the United States Senate just how many Americans are committed to the Recreational Trails Program. If we don’t act, the very backbone of trails in America may be forever lost.
Please be sure to send us a copy of your message. Thank you for your help.
Marianne Fowler, Co-Chair, Coalition for Recreational Trails
Derrick Crandall, Co-Chair, Coalition for Recreational Trails
1225 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 450
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 682-9530 Fax (202) 682-9529