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Congress Reauthorizes Recreational Trails Program

American Horse Council update

Last week, Congress passed MAP-21 the multiyear national highway bill. The new law reauthorizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and allocates $85 million in annual funding for the program. RTP is important to recreational riders all over the country and the AHC is pleased Congress preserved this program in the highway bill.

Since its inception RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians. RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users. It is funded with a portion of the gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund by recreational off-highway vehicle users.

Reauthorization of RTP was not assured. Early versions of the bill would have eliminated the RTP program or removed dedicated funding for the program that would have effectively ended RTP as it currently exists. The AHC, along with a broad coalition of recreational users, has been working for many years to protect RTP and ensure it was part of any highway bill that was eventually passed. Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were instrumental in preserving RTP as were the thousands of Americans, including equestrians, who contacted their Members of Congress to voice support for the program.

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