It is no secret to any of you that the Federal Government must make real and serious cuts in their run-away spending. Their reckless spending has put all of us in a bad way. With that being said, there are some very worth while programs that have a direct payback. There are even some that are funded with real money. They must remain funded and in place.
The Recreational Trail Fund Program has been in place since 1993 when it was forwarded by then Senator Steve Symms and heavily sponsored and supported by the United Four Wheel Drive Associations and the Blue Ribbon Coalition. The RTP is funded by using 1/2 of 1% of the Federal Gas Tax collected at the pump.
In its present form, a set amount is allocated to each state. To qualify, the state must use 30% for non-motorized, 30% for MOTORIZED, 40% Mixed uses, 5% for education and up to 7% for administrative purposes. Private and state agencies submit requests in a form similar to a grant request.
They have to provide a detailed scope of the project, maps, cost break downs, environmental impact studies, etc. Each request has to have a 20% match, either in cash or in kind services.
Outstanding projects all over Maryland, Pennsylvania, as well as the rest of the country have completed, as well as some very useful, expensive equipment. One project in Maryland that was partially funded by this program was the bridge crossing Laurel Run on the Potomac State Forest. Historically, that bridge would last a few seasons and then get washed out. Now there is a first class bridge there that has weathered some major flooding. This put local folks to work and remains a key to forest access.
Right now, in Maryland, for example, there is an ORV Stakeholders group putting together site proposals to develop areas and routes for ORV/OHV users. Yes, this definitely includes recreational four wheel drive. To make this program fly, it will need some outside help. Plus, in some cases, Maryland is looking at purchasing or leasing some possible outstanding properties.
If you value the Recreational Trails Program, as an important economic stimulation and strategic investment for Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia as well as the rest of the USA, communities. Please consider editing the attached letter and send to our U.S. Congressional Representatives.
You may want highlight the economic benefits to those very rural communities. You may even mention the environmental aspect to this. A properly designed and constructed motorized route can have much less impacts than a paved road.
If you are a Maryland resident or even recreate in Maryland, send it also to Representatives Mica, Rahall, Duncan, and DeFazio of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as Secretary Ray LaHood to support the reauthorization of the RTP as a discrete program in new surface transportation legislation.
You say you want places to wheel. Here is the tool that can make it happen.
President/Conservation and Land Use Director
Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association