The Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which has faced possible elimination in recent budget tightening, was not cut in the massive transportation bill recently approved by Congress on June 29.

The Recreational Trails Program provides funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

The spending authorization bill, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” known as Map-21, includes $85 million a year through fiscal year 2014 for the trails program.

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

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

“Motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders by the thousands spoke about the benefits of the Recreational Trails Program and the fact that it’s funded by off-highway vehicle users,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “Federal lawmakers listened and continued this vital program.”

Funds for the RTP come from the federal Highway Trust Fund which is in turn funded by the federal motor fuel excise tax collected from fuel use. In other words, taxes generated by fuel used for off-highway vehicle recreation – by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks – help fund the RTP.

The RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Transportation Department’s Federal Highway Administration. The RTP program benefits hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, ATV riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.

Read more about what the Recreational Trails Program does.

Image copyright Eran Bair

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