AMA Applauds Washington Governor's Veto Of Ban On New Trails

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PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association has praised Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire's line-item veto of a measure that would have banned all construction of new trails or facilities for off-road motorized recreation for at least a year.

The measure, which had been inserted in the state budget in a last-minute maneuver, without the opportunity for public debate, would have prohibited the state's Department of Natural Resources from building or expanding trails or facilities for off-road recreational vehicles until July, 2009. It was one of seven sections of the proposed capital budget that Gov. Gregoire vetoed.

"We are very gratified that Gov. Gregoire recognized the unfairness of this measure, which would have cut off funding for off-road motorized recreation while continuing to collect taxes and fees from off-road vehicle users," said AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris. "Gov. Gregoire heard from hundreds of concerned citizens who were unhappy about the way the Washington state legislature approved this ban in the dark of night, and she did the right thing by reversing it."

The AMA and other organizations spread the word of the legislature's maneuver. Nearly 500 people used the AMA's Rapid Response Center at www.AMADirectlink.com to send messages to Gov. Gregoire, urging her to veto the measure. Others helping rally support for a veto were the Northwest Motorcycle Association, the Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance, the Washington Road Riders Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the AMA District 27 organization and Americans for Responsible Recreational Access. Notices were also posted on the popular Thumper Talk and KTM Talk internet forums.

"This is a powerful example of how the AMA and other organizations can work together to identify issues, establish a strategy and implement a plan to successfully reverse an ill-conceived and undemocratically imposed mandate," said AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. "It's also a blueprint for how the AMA can address similar issues with an assertive, pro-active and inclusive approach at state and local levels all across the country."