American Motorcyclist Association stresses the importance of trails
May 24, 2013
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- As
Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx is being considered in Washington, D.C., to
be the U.S. transportation secretary, the American Motorcyclist Association is
reminding lawmakers that the secretary is responsible for the Recreational
The AMA's concerns were raised at
the nomination hearing by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). She asked Foxx:
"If confirmed, will you work to ensure that this valuable program [RTP]
continues to meet the needs of all trail users in Minnesota and across the
Foxx responded that he
"looks forward to working with you [Klobuchar] on these
Those trails are very important
for tourism and rural economies, are a way to explore the nation's natural
beauty and provide a way to enjoy physical activity, wrote Wayne Allard, AMA
vice president for government relations, in a column that appeared in
the Washington, D.C., newspaper The Hill on May 21.
"I cannot stress enough the
importance of this program," wrote Allard, who is a former U.S.
representative and U.S. senator. "In my home state of Colorado, outdoor
recreation is a $13.2 billion-a-year industry. Across the country, outdoor
recreation generates $646 billion a year in consumer spending and supports 6.1
million direct American jobs that can never be outsourced."
Allard wrote that since 1991,
Congress has considered the benefits of recreational trails when authoring our
nation's transportation bills. Out of this bipartisan consideration, the
Recreational Trails Program emerged as an equitable way to fund the nation's
vast system of trails.
The RTP is a federal grant
program that provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational
trails and related facilities for all recreationists. RTP funds come from
excise taxes generated by fuel purchased for off-highway vehicle recreation --
snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway
Because these users pay the
federal excise tax, the RTP receives its funding from the federal Highway Trust
Fund. However, even at the program's current funding level, $85 million a year,
off-highway-vehicle users are paying significantly more in fuel taxes than the
RTP receives to fund trails.
Each state has the flexibility to
determine how the RTP grants will be awarded and administered. The only
stipulation is that 30 percent of obligated funds must go to motorized trails,
30 percent to non-motorized trails and 40 percent to mixed-use trails.
"Recreational trails provide
cost effective ways for families and friends to get together, recreate and
create lasting memories," Allard wrote. "As Foxx testifies about the
nation's crumbling infrastructure, let's remember his constituency is not just
those who ride and drive trains, planes, trucks, SUVs, automobiles and
on-highway motorcycles. It extends beyond traditional users of transportation
to include recreationists of all types."