OHV Programs Threatened
ARRA supporters have waged a vigorous battle to save the federal Recreational Trails Program, a program funded through the federal gas tax receipts paid by the owners/users of off-highway recreation vehicles. We have so far been successful in preserving this program, but we are waiting for the House/Senate conference on federal transportation programs to complete its work for us to be certain that RTP is safe. The current read is that RTP should emerge intact from the conference, but until the music stops playing, we are keeping our guard up and actively working this issue on Capitol Hill.
Unfortunately, OHV programs aren't threatened only at the federal level, but at the state level as well. The State of California is a case in point. Over the past several years, state government officials have diverted millions of dollars from the OHV green sticker fund for purposes other than OHV recreation. The latest threat comes from state legislators who have advocated stripping $21 million from the OHV trust fund and using it to fund California State Parks for the 2012-13 budget cycle.
As more state budgets are under severe strain due to declining tax receipts, dedicated funding of specific programs is becoming a target for officially sanctioned theft. Legislators and state officials are ignoring the fact that promises were made when specific fees were established and collected in support of certain programs. OHV enthusiasts in California are fighting hard to stop this budget raid, but even if they are successful in this battle, it will only be a matter of time when they are faced with more threats.
(From ARRA Newsletter - June 2012)
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