AMA-logo-230PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Off-highway motorcycle riders and other trail users stand to benefit from up to $82.4 million in federal funding to be apportioned to 49 states in 2014 through the Recreational Trails Program, the American Motorcyclist Association reports. Only Florida opted out of the program for fiscal 2014.

“As a federal grant program that provides funds to develop and maintain recreational trails, RTP is vitally needed to continue expanding and maintaining off-highway opportunities for riders,” said AMA Vice President of Government Relations Wayne Allard. “In fact, RTP funds come from excise taxes generated by fuel purchased for off-highway vehicle recreation — off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and off-highway light trucks — so this is money that rightfully belongs to trail users.”

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In great news for motorcyclists, the embattled federal Recreational Trails Program that faced possible extinction exists in a massive transportation bill approved by Congress on June 29, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The spending authorization bill, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” known as Map-21, includes $85 million a year through fiscal 2014 for the trails program, which provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

The measure now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.

The original Senate-backed transportation proposal, S. 1813, would have effectively ended the RTP by severing the program from its dedicated funding. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and several bipartisan cosponsors offered an amendment in March to S. 1813, which was approved by the full Senate, to continue the RTP.

U.S. Representatives Tom Petri (R-WI) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) 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. The program is self-funded through taxes from fuel used in off-highway recreational vehicles.

Petri and Michaud have placed an April 14th 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.

Since the deadline is this Thursday, April 14th, the fastest way to reach your Member 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 public trail systems are urged to contact their Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Petri/Michaud letter addressed to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the RTP.