Increase Funding for Recreational Trails and Annual Meeting Update
Hello WAVTA members!
We have a few updates for you.
First of all, an update about our STATE legislative changes. Our thanks to the many members who emailed, called and reached out to our state lawmakers, our large package of requested changes passed both houses this week
We still have to wait for the governor to sign the bill before it becomes law, that process can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days or thereabouts. Our bill passed on the last day of the session, for that we are very fortunate. We will be debriefing members at the upcoming annual meeting as well as at our regional rides and meetings this summer. Remember, part of this change increases maintenance rates WITHOUT RAISING ANY REGISTRATION FEES!
Below please read about a new FEDERAL law proposal, which we also use here in Wisconsin as part of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding program. This is separate from our state funding platform. The main issue with the current formula that funds this has to do with outdated gas tax usage formula. If this federal bill could get passed, it would bring more trail dollars into the RTP, again without increasing any fees.
Please see one of the ways your voice can be heard. You can also cal lor write your federal lawmaker, that's an option as well.
Bill H.R 5795: Increase Funding for Recreational Trails:
Recently Representatives Peter Welch (VT-1), John Curtis (UT-3), Angie Craig (MN-2), Michael Simpson (ID-2), Ann Kuster (NH-2), and Chris Stewart (UT-2) introduced the Recreational Trails Program Full Funding Act of 2020, H.R. 5797. The legislation requires the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to provide a revised estimate of the gas taxes paid by recreators and to update that amount at least every five years. The program is funded through taxes paid on gasoline used to fuel motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles, and other recreational activities. The RTP program is currently funded at $84 million annually, which is substantially less than the amount of taxes paid on fuel used by recreators.For more than a quarter-century the RTP has provided funding for recreational trail development and maintenance across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 25,000 projects across the nation since its inception. "The Recreational Trails Program has created countless opportunities for motorized recreation and human-powered experiences," said Rep. Curtis. "This bill will ensure that future generations get to visit the great outdoors, while supporting local economies and jobs, especially throughout rural areas."
The legislation also establishes reporting of Financial Management Information System (FEMIS) Codes in order to provide additional transparency into projects funded and ensure that the principles of the 30% motorized, 30% non-motorized, and 40% mixed-use are being met. The FHWA will be allowed to keep up to $1.5 million annually to administer the program and maintain recreational trail-facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational uses. The FHWA will also develop a formula for distributing RTP funds whereby half of the total RTP funds are divided equally among the 50 states (and D.C.), and then the other half is apportioned to them based on the portion of off-highway gas tax paid by that state's users. Finally, the legislation provides for an immediate increase in RTP funding to the greater of either $250 million or the latest non-highway recreational fuel study as required by this legislation.
Take the RTP quiz here to test your knowledge and we urge you to write your member of Congress and ask them to support H.R. 5797. Upon introducing the bill, Reps. Welch and Curtis took a moment to discuss their passion for the great outdoors and why they introduced the Recreational Trails Program Funding Act.
The RTP is an ARRA top priority and is critical for the continued development and maintenance of trails across the country for motorcycles, ATVs, and side-by-sides.
Click Here and Take Action
Annual Meeting Room Update:
We have had many calls and emails about the rooming situation in Steven's Point. Unfortunately rooms are hard to come by due to a state basketball tournament in town that we were unaware of. Our block at the Holiday Inn has already been filled. However we have been told that the other blocks at the hotel will be released on the 4th of March. So for those of you struggling to get rooms in Steven's Point, hotels that have blocks held for this tournament release them a month before the date of the event.
So hopefully starting he 4th of March the room situation will become less of an issue.