The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that extends the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and the federal motorcyclist safety grant program, for nearly two more years, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
"Motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders by the thousands spoke about the benefits of the Recreational Trails Program and the fact that it’s funded by off-highway vehicle users, and federal lawmakers listened," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations.
On March 14, the full Senate approved S.1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," known as MAP-21. This bill authorizes transportation funding through fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, 2013, maintains the RTP and provides $6 million a year for funding state programs that focus on motorcyclist safety.
As originally written, S. 1813 would have effectively ended the RTP by severing the program from its dedicated funding. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and several bipartisan cosponsors offered an amendment to S. 1813, which was approved by the full Senate, to continue the RTP.
On the House side, H.R. 7, the transportation bill titled the "American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012" included $85 million a year through fiscal 2016 for the RTP and funding for state motorcycle safety programs. After passing the House committees that shared jurisdiction of the subject matter in the bill, the House leadership is debating its options on what version of the transportation bill to consider.
Because the Senate bill may become the vehicle, the Senate language was extremely important if the RTP was to be saved. The RTP provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.
For more information about the American Motorcyclist Association, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.