CALIFORNIA RTP In Danger Once Again

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May 10, 2013 4:42 PM

If you live in CA, your immediate action is needed to help save the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) - See ACTION ITEMS below! As a member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), BRC works very closely with the many organizations of CRT in the ongoing efforts to preserve the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  At the top of our priority list is that the RTP program in California is in very real danger of being lost. BACKGROUND INFO The enabling legislation for RTP (MAP-21) allows for individual states to "opt out" of the Program.  We now have confi

CALIFORNIA RTP IN DANGER ONCE AGAIN
IMPORTANT ACTION ITEMS INCLUDED

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

If you live in CA, your immediate action is needed to help save the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) - See ACTION ITEMS below!

As a member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), BRC works very closely with the many organizations of CRT in the ongoing efforts to preserve the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  At the top of our priority list is that the RTP program in California is in very real danger of being lost. 

BACKGROUND INFO
The enabling legislation for RTP (MAP-21) allows for individual states to "opt out" of the Program.  We now have confirmed reports that Governor Jerry Brown's staff intends to recommend that the Governor opt out of the RTP. The Brown Administration's plan would consolidate a number of programs, including the RTP, into one Active Transportation Program.  If that happens, the funding benefits for trails the program offers will be lost. We understand and applaud Governor Brown's goals for active transportation, but including RTP in the proposal will not only be a step backward for trails in California, it will be a huge blow to RTP nationally!

It took a national effort to get the RTP program, and it will take another such herculean effort on the part of OHVers in CA to help stop what could be a domino effect for the entire program.  This is truly a situation in which what happens in California, will not stay in California. It is essential to the integrity of the Recreational Trails Program nationally that Governor Brown not opt California out of RTP.

KEY ACTION ITEMS-ALL HANDS ON DECK!
Together with the other members of The Coalition for Recreational Trails, we must do all that we can to ensure that the state Governor understands the importance of this program and how many of his constituents care passionately about trails and the RTP. 

Please contact the Governor and ask him not to opt out of the worthy RTP program. Don't assume your Governor knows the value of Recreational Trails. Help him understand the importance of the RTP to trail users and to the state's economy.

Contact information for the Governor is listed below.

Contact Governor Jerry Brown
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160
Email: Access the online email form on the Governor's website:
http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php

Contact your State Senator and Assembly representative
Your State Senator and Assembly representative also need to hear this message. Locate them and visit their website to find their contact information:
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
 
Spread the word!  Don't just make your call or send your email. Take the time to ask your family and friends to make calls and send emails too!  It takes a community to have the impact we need to prevent California from opting out of this important program.

Write an OP-ED to your local newspaper.  We need to engage the media in this effort also. If you can, write a short OP-ED to your favorite newspaper, media outlet, or on your blog.  See below for what others have written to help get you started.

As always, call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Brian Hawthorne                                           Ric Foster
Public Lands Policy Director                            Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition                                      BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102                                   208-237-1008 ext 107


Draft Letter to the Editor/Op-Ed 1

Continue funding the RTP

Gov. Jerry Brown is facing an important decision: Whether or not to continue funding the Recreational
Trails Program (RTP).

The RTP funds the development and maintenance of recreational trails and facilities for motorized and non-motorized uses, including hiking, bicycling, equestrian use, dirt bike riding, ATV riding and other recreational uses. The program derives its funding from gas taxes collected at the pump when OHV enthusiasts fill up their machines and embodies the user-pay, user-benefit philosophy. The fuel taxes collected are leveraged with millions of dollars of outside funding multiplying the impact that RTP has on recreational opportunities.

As an avid off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiast, I know it is vital to my sport, and all non-motorized recreation, that Gov. Brown NOT opt out of the RTP in California.

Federal transportation reauthorization legislation signed into law by the President last year continued the RTP essentially unchanged, except that the governor of each state has the authority to opt out of funding the program. While California's recreational community is grateful that Congress decided to retain funding for the RTP, it is imperative that Governor Brown recognize the positive economic and social benefits of retaining funding for this important program and not opt out of the RTP.

Only Governor Brown can protect funding for the RTP that is critical to ensuring that millions of
Californians continue to have access to recreational trails. Let's hope he makes the right choice.


Draft Letter to the Editor/Op-Ed 2

We are very concerned that a plan developed by Gov. Jerry Brown's Administration will seriously damage the state's Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The Brown Administration plan would consolidate a number of programs, including the RTP, into one Active Transportation Program. We understand that streamlining programs can be useful, but this proposal will take away all the RTP funding provided to California by the federal government.

Since 1993, the federal government has returned to California a portion of the federal gas taxes paid by the state's off-highway recreation enthusiasts to fund all kinds of trails all over the state. Under Gov. Brown's proposal to "opt-out" of the RTP, that money will be taken away from the recreational trails community and used instead to support transportation - not recreation - in urban areas. This action will hurt the economies across the state and make Californians less able to access our public lands.

The amount of money involved is not huge. According to the Federal Highway Administration, California was slated to receive between $5 and $6 million in RTP funds in 2014. However, these funds do make a huge difference to our trails because they are used to support trail design, construction, maintenance, rehab and more. These funds are also used to leverage matching funds from trail project sponsors, as well as in-kind services from volunteers.

We urge the Governor not to opt-out of the RTP and to let this essential program keep its funds. Funds which have been provided for trail enthusiasts by trail enthusiasts. If this proposal goes through, Californians will lose the Recreational Trails Program, the foundation for our trail program for the last 20 years.

Gov. Brown, please don't let this happen! 

 


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
_______________________________________________________
As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!

 


 

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