Florida RTP in Jeopardy - Immediate Action Requested

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August 22, 2013 8:47 AM

Florida RTP in Jeopardy - Immediate Action Requested

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber in Florida,

This comes to us from the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT).

SITUATION:
The folks at the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) sent us word that, according to the state DOT, Florida is going to opt out of the RTP program again for 2014.

Since the notice has to come from the Governor, BRC is asking our members in Florida to contact the Governor and ask him NOT to opt out of the RTP.  (See talking points below).
http://www.funoutdoors.com/coalitions/crt

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Now is the time for Florida trail interests to contact the Governor and let him know how important the RTP is to the future of trails in the state.

As always, please call or email if you have any questions or need additional information.

Thanks in advance for taking action!
Brian Hawthorne
Public Lands Policy Director
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102


The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor of Florida
PL 05 The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone 850/488-7146
Fax  850/487-0801

Dear Governor Scott,

I am writing to urge Florida not to 'opt-out' of the Recreational Trails Program.

The Recreational Trails Program (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 only a portion (less than 50%) of the Federal gas taxes collected at the pump when off-highway recreation enthusiasts fill up their machines. The RTP is based on the user-pay, user-benefit philosophy as taxes collected on fuel used on trails benefit trails.

Key Reasons for Florida NOT to Opt Out of the Recreational Trails Program

  • Florida will not have access to significant additional dollars in partner funding, including additional funds from non-DOT Federal partners, as well as in-kind services, including the work of volunteers, that RTP funding has traditionally leveraged to support RTP-funded projects.
     
  • Projects in Florida will not be exempt from treatment as projects on a Federal-aid highway, which will mean increased costs.
     
  • Florida won't have the funding flexibility allowed by RTP and will be unable to spend funds directly for state-approved projects.
     
  • Nonprofit organizations and other private-sector partners will not be eligible to receive direct funding from the state, limiting a key means of cost-effective project management.
     
  • Funding of trail maintenance and program administration will not be authorized.
     
  • Federal support will be lost for key programs like the RTP database and technical assistance, research and training directly related to the program's administration, which are all underwritten by a return to the DOT of one percent of state RTP funds.
     
  • The clear link between the RTP, which is funded by Federal gas taxes, and the trail enthusiasts, who pay those taxes, will be lost, denying those users the assurance that benefits they paid for will be received.

RTP is a flexible, responsive, proven program that leverages additional support from other sources for
trails, encourages productive cooperation among trail users, and facilitates healthy outdoor
recreation and associated, badly needed economic activity in local communities.

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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