WASHINGTON, (American Horse Council) – On June 29, Congress passed and, on July 6, the president signed MAP-21 the multiyear national highway bill. The new law reauthorizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and allocates $85 million in annual funding for the program. RTP is important to recreational riders all over the country.
“We are happy Congress ultimately passed a new highway bill that reauthorizes RTP and guarantees RTP funds will be available for trail projects around the country for the next two years,” said AHC president Jay Hickey.
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 recreational community had to fight to make sure RTP was in this highway bill. The original version of the bill would have removed dedicated funding for the program and some early drafts of the House bill did not even include RTP at all,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass. “We are tremendously grateful to the Members of Congress who supported RTP, particularly Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who were instrumental in preserving RTP.”
The new highway bill authorizes all highway programs, including RTP, until September 30, 2014.