Good news for off-road enthusiasts as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $715 billion transportation bill, including up to 75% increased funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The RTP funds trail development, maintenance, and educational materials nationwide.
"While there is significantly more work to be done getting the bill passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, it is great to have the House on-record supporting the increase," said Scott Schloegel, MIC senior VP of Government Relations. "We would love to have senators take up the House bill, but they also have their own bills they are working on, so we'll continue to advocate for a similar provision in the Senate."
The multibillion "INVEST in America Act" would spend heavily on road, rail, public transit and water projects over five years. Proponents of sweeping infrastructure legislation hope that Congress can complete work on it before October 1 and send it to President Biden for signing into law. The RTP is funded with gas tax dollars that powersports enthusiasts pay each time they fuel up off-highway vehicles.
The RTP currently has a funding level of $84 million, and Schloegel said that the budget is long overdue for a significant boost – particularly with the double-digit growth in new-unit OHV sales since the spring of 2020, and the nation's increasing interest in powersports recreation.
"It is estimated that we pay nearly $300 million in off-road gas taxes each year," Schloegel said. "We appreciate that the House agrees that more of those dollars should be put into recreational trails."