This is something we all MUST act on! From our friends at Blue Ribbon Coalition…
Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL)
Toll Free: 866.265.3434
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON RECREATIONAL TRAILS BUDGET NEAR
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED
Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
As you know, BRC doesn't blast nationwide ACTION ALERTS unless action by the recreation community has a good chance of producing positive results. This ACTION ALERT concerns an opportunity to increase trail funding available for maintenance and development of recreational trails.
BRC's public lands team has classified this Action Item as HIGH PRIORITY and STRONGLY urges you to take action immediately. Detailed information is below, as well as a quick link to BRC's Rapid Response Center.
Thank you in advance for your involvement,
Public Lands Director
After years of partisan wrangling over legislation funding the surface transportation bill (A.K.A. the Highway Bill ), both the House and the Senate have passed alternative versions of HR 3, the reauthorization of the nation's surface transportation programs.
WHY THAT MATTERS TO YOU:
The surface transportation program includes the Recreational Trails Program (RTP)!!!
As most of you are aware, RTP uses a portion of the federal gas tax collected on non-highway recreational use (in snowmobiles, OHVs, etc) in order to provide funding to state recreational trail programs. Currently, taxes paid on fuel used for OHV recreational purposes are estimated at $286 million annually. This tax money should go to recreational trails instead of highway projects.
BRC, working with a broad ranging coalition of recreational trail interests recommended that a modest 50% (approximately $143 million annually) of these taxes be allotted to the RTP programs.
Thanks to our Champions in the House of Representatives, their legislation approaches our recommendation, increasing funding to reach $110 million for Fiscal Year 2009. Unfortunately, the Senate RTP proposal is $56 million annually.
Our champions in the Senate are sensitive about representing their proposal as a cut. Technically, one could describe the Senate funding proposal as flat funding for RTP programs. However, the neither version of the highway bill represents a fair and equitable accounting of the taxes the OHV community pays for fuel used for vehicle use on recreational trails.
The House and Senate have now appointed conferees to address the differences in the two versions of HR 3. We expect serious work to begin on June 6 and believe a decision on RTP funding may be finalized by June 15.
There is a tremendous opportunity here. BRC strongly encourages all OHV users to take advantage of that opportunity, and contact your Congressional representatives and encourage them to include the House-passed funding for the RTP program.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Your Congressional representative needs to hear from you today. It is a matter of simple fairness. You pay taxes for fuel used when you travel on your favorite trails. Those taxes need to be spent you your favorite trails.
You can use our Rapid Response Center automatic email system, or better yet, send a personal message to your Congressional representative.
Don't wait! Send your letter TODAY!
Link to BRC's Rapid Response Center: http://capwiz.com/share/mail/oneclick_c ... id=7671861
Super-Easy 3-Step Instructions for Sending a Personal Email to your Congressional Rep:
Click here: http://capwiz.com/share/home
Enter your zip code, and then click “GO”
Use the information to contact both your Senators (and your Congressman if you wish) to deliver the message below. If you click "email" you can "cut and paste" the message.
IMPORTANT: Enter "Fairness with RTP funds in ISTEA" the "Subject" field!
I am an avid OHV enthusiast who pays taxes on fuel used on recreational trails. I am contacting you to ask that you ensure that the House-passed funding level for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is included in the HR 3 conference report for the final version of HR 3.
RTP is a proven success, leveraging federal funds with volunteer labor, state trails funding generated through registration fees and gas taxes and private funds. The program relies on user fees paid by recreationists like me. However, under the current RTP, and under the Senate-passed version of HR 3, recreational trail users are unfair "donors" to other transportation programs, receiving just 18% of the taxes paid. Adopting the House-passed funding levels in the final bill will address this unfairness.
Please ensure that the final version of HR 3 includes the House-passed funding for the RTP program. This is a very important issue to me and I appreciate your attention to this matter.
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