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American Horse Council Washington Update

Copyright © 2012 American Horse Council

House Bill Would Reauthorize the Recreational Trails Program

On February 2, 2012 the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, its version of a national highway bill. This bill would reauthorize the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for five years and allocate $85 million in annual funding for the program. The AHC is pleased the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recognized the importance of RTP and included it in their bill.

Since its inception RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians. RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users. It is funded with a portion of the gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund by recreational off-highway vehicle users.

The current national highway bill SAFETEA-LU that authorizes the RTP was set to expire in September of 2009. However, because Congress has yet to pass a new highway bill it has been forced to extend the current law several times, most recently until March 31, 2012.

In November, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee marked up its version of a multi-year national highway bill, called MAP-21. MAP-21 would also reauthorize RTP; however it would make major changes to RTP by removing dedicated funding for the program and consolidating it with several other programs. The AHC does not support the changes the Senate bill would make to RTP because they would effectively end the program in many states.

The AHC, in conjunction with a broad coalition of recreational trail users, has been requesting Congress re-authorize the RTP in its current form in the next highway bill as a separate distinct program with dedicated funding. The AHC urges its member organizations and their membership to contact the Senate and voice support for this program and let them know this program is important to the horse community.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.

American Horse Council 1616 H Street NW · Washington, DC 20006
Phone (202) 296-4031 · Fax (202) 296-1970 · Web Address


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