AMA-logo-230PICKERINGTON, 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 Trails Program.

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 nation?”

Foxx responded that he “looks forward to working with you [Klobuchar] on these issues.”

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.

On Nov. 9, 2011, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.), voted in support of S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act.  The measure is a two-year transportation funding authorization bill that specifies what transportation programs are approved to receive federal dollars. Unfortunately, this bill also includes a provision to eliminate dedicated funds for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides money to states to develop and maintain trails and to educate trail users.

The RTP funds represent a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected only from non-highway recreational fuel use. In other words, the RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program for off-highway vehicle recreation, which includes snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks.

By eliminating this program’s dedicated funds and diverting these fees away from the RTP, MAP-21 is creating what is essentially a new tax on responsible motorized recreationists.

Since S. 1813 was approved by the  EPW Committee, it will now be considered by the full Senate. A date for that vote has not been scheduled, so there is still time to appeal to your Senators.

The AMA needs you to call your Senators today and ask them to amend S. 1813 to restore dedicated funding to the RTP.

To call your Senators, click on “Take Action” to insert your zip code in the “Call Action” box to get your Senators’ phone numbers. Or, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators by name.

Call your Senators and remind them the RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program. Let them know that eliminating its dedicated funding would create what is essentially a new tax on you and their other constituents that participate in responsible motorized recreation.