Americans for Responsible Recreational Access reports that governors from only two states opted out of the Recreational Trails Program.
Florida and Kansas opted out of the program, part of the new federal transportation bill passed by Congress. Governors had until Sept. 1 to notify the U.S. Department of Transportation if they would exercise the option of not participating in the RTP. States that do not participate will see their money diverted away from off-road trails to a general transportation fund.
“Recreation groups, motorized and non-motorized, worked very hard to ensure that state governors knew about the importance of RTP. We had some close calls with a couple of states, but in the end our efforts paid off,” ARRA executive director Larry E. Smith said in a news release. “All of us learned a lot from this opt out process. I have a strong feeling that in the coming months we will see efforts to mobilize recreation groups in all states to ensure that when decision time comes around again in 2013, the thought of dropping out of RTP no longer becomes a politically viable option.”
The RTP is an $85 million program that provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) reauthorized the RTP through federal fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, ATVs, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks.