U.S. Representatives Mike Michaud (D-ME-02) and Tom Petri (R-WI-06) released a "Dear Colleague" letter asking members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The RTP is a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-administered program. It was first created in the 1991 transportation bill (ISTEA) and operated through state trail programs with the active involvement of diverse trail interests through mandated state trail advisory councils. Funding is provided by taxes generated from fuel used in off-highway recreational vehicles.
Representatives Michaud and Petri have placed a July 17 deadline to collect signatures. Therefore, time is of the essence and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is encouraging all AMA members, motorized recreation enthusiasts and rights activists to contact their Representative and ask them to sign on to the letter.
The bipartisan letter thanks the leadership for including the RTP in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. The letter also makes three specific requests:
1. For RTP funding levels in the legislation to be set at $690 million over six years - $90 million in 2010, $100 million in 2011, $110 million in 2012, $120 million in 2013, $130 million in 2014, and $140 million in 2015;
2. For $2.5 million to be allocated to a DOT study of off-highway recreational fuel use, to ensure that the level of RTP funding reflects
the federal fuel taxes paid for off-highway fuel usage; and
3. For funds allocated to the FHWA to administer the RTP each year to be adjusted from a set amount to one percent of actual available annual funding to ensure that sufficient administrative resources are available for the program.
Since the deadline is this Friday, July 17, the fastest way to reach your Members of Congress is to call them. You can find contact information for your Representatives on AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your U.S. Representatives by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.
All AMA members and anyone else who enjoys recreating on trails responsibly is urged to contact their Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Michaud/Petri letter addressed to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the RTP.