RECREATIONAL TRAILS FULL-FUNDING ACT OF 2020!

Recreational off-road vehicle use in America is at an all-time high, thanks to the popularity of UTVs across the country. This year 526 teams entered the 12th annual King of the Hammers Ultra-4 race. Also,the King of the Motos dirt bike race returned. For the first year ever, more UTV-class racers entered the KOH than any other class. Turnout is also high in WORCS UTV classes for 2020.  The Recreational Trails Full-Funding Act of 2020 will fuel the growth of OHV use.

Some U.S. Representatives showed support for the UTV and ATV communities by introducing H.R. 5797, the Recreational Trails Full-Funding Act of 2020. The legislation requires a new non-highway recreational fuel-use study, better reporting of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) projects and increased funding. Most importantly, we’re talking raising the yearly RTP funding from $84 million to $250 million!

WHO’S BEHIND H.R. 5797

 John Curtis (R-UT), Deputy Republican Leader of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee,  Peter Welch (D-VT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced H.R. 5797.

The RTP provides funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. Introduced in 1991 with urging from BlueRibbon Coalition founder Clark Collins, the RTP was the result of hard work by U.S. Senator Steve Symms (R-ID). RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. They represent a portion of the motor fuel excise taxes collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. H.R. 5797 orders a new fuel-use study by UTVs, ATVs, other OHVs. The last study was a decade ago when the sport UTV revolution was just starting.

TIME FOR AN UPDATE

The RTP was last updated by the 2016 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) authorized $82,365,802 for 2018. That’s 30.5 percent of the estimated $270 million the Federal Highway Trust Fund collects every year. Clearly, H.R. 5797 is an important piece of legislation for us UTV enthusiasts. Also, the new fuel-use study will surely increase the estimated $270 million that off-road enthusiasts contribute yearly. Raising the yearly funds from $84 million to $250 million will speed trail construction and maintenance. States are to use RTP funds to provide motorized (30 percent), non-motorized (30 percent) and diverse or multi-use trails (40 percent) and trail facilities. Trail facilities include kiosks and restrooms at trailheads.

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT

Bud Bruening, President of UTV Utah, said, “UTV Utah supports the Recreational Trails Program Full Funding Act of 2020. Motorized recreation is one of the largest contributors to the outdoor recreation economy. We welcome any improvements to programs that are designed to invest in motorized recreation.”

Ben Burr, Policy Director of BlueRibbon Coalition/ShareTrails, said,  “The RTP framework brings positive investments into recreational access. However, there is room for improvement in how the funding for the program is determined. In conclusion, the Recreational Trails Full Funding Act of 2020 is a great step towards correcting these deficiencies in the program.”

OHV groups sent a letter to H.R. 5797 framers in Congress, thanking their leadership efforts on this issue.  37 OHV-advocacy groups signed, including the BRC, AMA, American Trails, ORBA, NOHVCC, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Professional Trail Builders Association, SVIA, ROHVA and Tread Lightly!

The RTP has funded more than 25,000 trail projects in its 28 years. From 1993 through 2012, half of RTP funds were distributed equally to all 50 states. The other half were distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of non-highway recreational fuel use in each state. We urge all UTV enthusiasts and UTV Action readers to contact their Congressional Representatives and urge them to support the Recreational Trails Full-Funding Act of 2020! Also, we urge clubs and organizations to submit grant requests to improve OHV opportunities in your area and state. As USFS and BLM budgets dwindle, H.R. 5797 is vital to creating and maintaining UTV/ATV trails for the taxpaying, off-roading public.

See more news about places to ride here: https://utvactionmag.com/where-to-ride-and-race-your-utv-hatfield-mccoy-trails/

See Yamaha’s trail-finding GPS here: https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/wolverine/pages/yamaha-adventure-pro-gps-system

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