Calling horsemen and equine organizations to urge Congress to prioritize passing of legislation that will increase much needed and long overdue funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is very important to our equestrian trails community. For 30 years RTP has funded the planning, construction and maintenance of recreational trails in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Failure to maintain RTP and increase its funding will hamper economic recovery, add to the nation’s healthcare costs, and frustrate tens of millions of Americans who utilize trails for a diverse array of recreation. It will diminish enjoyment of public lands and waters by reducing access—at a time when public use of America’s trail systems is increasing dramatically.
The timetable for action on the infrastructure and reconciliation legislation has been extended for several weeks, and many members of Congress are downplaying the need for immediate action.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) is therefore calling upon Congressional leaders to swiftly approve returning more of the nearly $300 million generated annually by the gas tax paid by off-highway recreation vehicles to RTP. CRT recommends that Congress increase RTP funding to at least $150 million per year.
There are many reasons that now is the time to increase RTP funding:
- RTP is arguably the most impactful recreational trail program in the country having funded more than 30,000 successful projects since its creation under ISTEA in 1991.
- RTP funding has not been increased in more than a decade.
- A Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recreational fuel tax study from July 2021 confirms nearly $300 million in federal motor fuel tax is generated annually by nonhighway recreational activity, but RTP receives only $84 million of that annually, only 30% of the funds generated.
- The House-passed INVEST Act – recognizing the disparity in funding and the value of recreational trails – would have increased RTP funding to $147 million per year.
- Recreational trails contribute to the nearly $800 billion/year outdoor recreation economy that supports 5 million jobs.
You can help by contacting your congressional representatives here and urging support and swift action on this legislation. Template letters of support along with key message points are also available here.
The Equine Land Conservation Resource leads in the protection and conservation of lands for the horse and horse-related activities.