WTA Meets with Rep. Herrera Beutler to Discuss Trail Funding
WTA and other user groups met last week with Representative Jaime Herrera Buetler (3rd district) to discuss trails funding.
With funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in jeopardy, a contingent of trail user group representatives met with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (3rd District) in mid-August. WTA board member, Jeff Chapman, organized the meeting along with representatives from the Backcountry Horseman, OHV trail user groups and snowmobile groups.
RTP is funded through a federal gas tax, which provides revenue for important motorized and non-motorized trail projects. Unfortunately, Congress is looking for cuts, and by sweeping RTP dollars away to cover some other non-recreation transportation projects, they would be redirecting the gas tax monies that trail users pay at the pump. (The gas tax for RTP is based on an estimate of the amount of gas purchased for off-highway recreation).
If WTA loses RTP funding, it would have a big impact on our trail maintenance program. Last year RTP grant funding constituted nearly 20% of the program's budget, and supported our youth programs, BCRT trips and front country trips.
Since Congresswoman Herrera Beutler serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives, her position on this issue is critical. Our group was encouraged by her willingness to listen to our concerns and to see the logic behind protecting tax payer dollars for the purposes for which they were originally collected. It still remains to be seen if there is enough support to retain this very important grant program.