Protect the Recreational Trails Program From a New Attack
United States Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) has announced his plan to introduce an amendment to the transportation bill that would eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This is important to the mountain bike community because the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is part of TAP.
If this amendment is approved and RTP eliminated, recreational trails in all 50 states would lose an important funding source. While TAP and RTP represent only a tiny fraction of the total transportation expenditure they are highly regarded and very efficient programs, with important benefits for rural areas and recreation-based economies.
Please join us as part of the Coalition for Recreational Trails in asking Senator Toomey to reconsider his amendment to the transportation bill. The time to act is now!
There is very little time to act. Deliberations on the bill could resume as soon as Wednesday, July 9th.
Please email Senator Toomey’s office today! And feel free to use the letter template below to get started.
RTP, otherwise known as the Recreational Trails Program, provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational uses. RTP is assisted by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. These funds come directly from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and are represented as a portion of the non-highway recreational motor fuel tax collected. Examples of these included; off-highway recreation such as snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road motorcycles.
TAP helps to provide effective use of transportation funds by:
- Enabling those who are willing to bike to leave their cars at home; while also providing trouble-free connections to public transportation.
- Connecting existing trails and pathways to expand the transit network while advancing our population more effectively at minimal cost.
- Reducing the impact on the environment
- Improving rural economies by way of encouraging and engaging active tourism.
- Reducing the cost of healthcare by promoting public health and exercise.
Re: Amendment to eliminate funding for the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP)
Dear Senator Toomey,
I understand you have presented an amendment to the Protecting America’s Transit and Highways Act, before the Senate Finance Committee; in an effort to prevent the TAP dollars from coming out of the Highway Trust Fund .
As a proud supporter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) I believe in the values of their mission to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. By eliminating funding for the TAP; you would also eliminate funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) which has succeeded in funding over 350 trail projects within the state of Pennsylvania and countless trail projects throughout the entire United States. These trail projects have increased opportunities for several user groups to participate in a healthy active lifestyle across our country.
TAP helps to provide for off and on-road bicycle trails for both recreation and transportation purposes. As a critical part of the federal infrastructure spending TAP allows for a range of eligible projects that continue to support such trails for non-motorized users in the forms of bike paths, safe routes to school, commuter trails and recreational trails.
Trail systems are important to me as I see the benefit of eco-tourism increasing as-well as the health of the public surrounding such systems.
TAP provides a more efficient and cost effective use of federal transportation funds by:
Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is extremely important to our community as it returns a portion of the gas tax back to the state for trail development and maintenance. By eliminating TAP in which RTP is housed within; you’ll lend yourself to an increasing backlog of trail maintenance issues cropping up several of the United States public lands.
I strongly oppose the amendment in which you are proposing to eliminate TAP funds. I ask that you please consider our talking points and seek to work in conjunction with our user group and IMBA to find a more effective way to use federal funds to allow for transportation and trail networks. Thank you for your time and consideration.