IMBA reaching out for help to keep trail funding

Forums Mountain Bike Forum IMBA reaching out for help to keep trail funding

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    • #106303

      Seems that our government is working for us again. This time, with attempts by congress to remove the sole funding for multi-use singletrack trails.

      The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is the ONLY federal funding source for multi-use singletrack trails.

      RTP is in grave danger in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. This week, both the House and Senate are expected to vote on their respective transportation bills.

      In the Senate, RTP is eliminated, but U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is offering an amendment to restore dedicated funding.

      In the House, RTP was included in legislation forwarded by the committee, but Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has an amendment to eliminate the program. The entire House of Representatives hears the bill later this week.

      IMBA is asking you to contact the people that are voting to remove this funding on your behalf to try to stop them.

    • #106304

      I got this message too and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it would be great to get more money for trails but on the other hand, I don’t think we should feel entitled to federal spending for it. Budgets are tight and the deficit is at a record level and as mountain bikers, we are capable of funding trails ourselves if we think they’re important enough. How about we just put the $$ we would’ve spent lobbying against the bill toward trails and call it a day?

      The two IMBA articles I read (including the one schwim linked) paint a confusing picture. On the one hand, they mention that $85 million is collected in RTP funds each year but the half dozen or so MTB trail projects they list as beneficiaries received $20K to $40K grants. By my math that’s not even close to $1M in funding in the past few years, let alone $85M. So how much do mountain bikers stand to lose really?

      Also, from what I’ve read, RTP funding comes from fuel taxes on off-road vehicles of which mountain bikers pay $0. As such it feels a little unfair for us to demand that money be used for mountain bike trails.

    • #106305
      "trek7k" wrote

      So how much do mountain bikers stand to lose really?

      A lot dude. Almost every big new trail that gets built is done so using the RTP grant. If there were no RTP, there would be no FATS for example. RTP is the largest funding source for new trail construction, to lose it would be huge.

      I agree that using off-road vehicle tax money to fund non-motorized trails isn’t fair. But, that money is collected specifically for the RTP fund, so if RPT is lost it’s not like that money is going to go elsewhere (like lowering the defecit). That said, I have yet to figure out how that money is collected. It’s not like ATV users are filling up at ‘special’ gas stations. They fill up at the same stations we all fill up our cars.

    • #106306
      It’s not like ATV users are filling up at ‘special’ gas stations. They fill up at the same stations we all fill up our cars.

      There are special pumps at some gas stations for "off highway vehicles." AFAIK, the gas is a little cheaper since it doesn’t include all the highway taxes but clearly it is still taxed. You could fill up your lawnmower there if you wanted to save a few cents. 😀

      I’d be interested to hear exactly how much RTP funding went into building mountain bike trails like FATS. The IMBA article only says "FATS received significant support from the Recreational Trails Program" but to me that could mean anything from $10K and up. The few examples they did provide that included $$ figures were $19K for the CAMBA trail in WI and $40K for Adams Camp in VT. That’s a lot of money but not even close to the millions the alerts seem to imply.

    • #106307

      I am busy today working on a ton of tax returns.

      I wrote all the RTP Grants for FATS. $200,000 RTP. $70,000 USFS Centienial Fund. USFS matched the RTP Grants with $35,000 cash (paid for the parking lots, mostly). SORBA CSRA donated 2500 volunteer hours valued at $25,000.

      HKSP…..funded with RTP.

      Wine Creek rehab….RTP

      Horn Creek rehad….RTP

      Long Cane Horse Trail…..RTP

      Alot of the MTB trails in Paris Mtn SP…..RTP

      Back to FATS. Finally, about $10,000 was attempted to be raised from MTBers. This was after we had built the first 26 miles. I thought it was a no brainer….ask riders for donations. It was a total failure. MTBers simply would not donate in amounts that would be needed to even match the RTP Grants….and your brilliant idea is to rely on donations?

      Jeff….do you often post about things in which YOU HAVE NO FUGGING CLUE?

    • #106308
      "seenvic" wrote

      Jeff….do you often post about things in which YOU HAVE NO FUGGING CLUE?

      Ha! All the time, I guess I usually do a better job making that clear up front. 😀 Like I said, the info. IMBA is presenting doesn’t include much detail – your #s definitely shed more light on the situation.

      $200K is a ton of money for a single trail system and that type of funding would certainly be missed. And I agree, as mountain bikers we won’t be able to raise that kind of money on our own.

      So, yeah, given the numbers I think it’s wise to try to protect that funding. Now, whether we’re entitled to the $$ is another question I guess. 😏

    • #106309

      Interesting posts. I just edited an ariticle recently for a publication that im working with ;) on this exact subject. Won’t be in print for a while, but it sounded like rtp made a big difference for many trail systems all across the nation. I sure I’m not really supposed to talk about it, but this new trail system coming to Anniston Alabama Is being paid for Primarily with rtp.

    • #106310

      RTP is funded with the 18 cents per gallon that is paid at the pump by vehicles that expend the fuel on a trail. I am not sure how the total is calced, but it is estimated that over $300 Million is collected. $85M or so is then spent on trails. By law, 30% of the total must be spent on motorized trails (because they pay 100% of the bill).

      Your income taxes do not fund the RTP.
      Your gas taxes that go into your car that you drive to the trail does not fund the RTP.
      Snowmobiles, ATV, motocycles (off road) and (off road) Jeeps fund the RTP.

      I agree our country has a bad deficit. But I don’t think the stripping of the these funds is going to lower the deficit. The $85M will be taken from the RTP and it will be spent on paved roads like the $215M in off road fuel taxes are now.

      I’d say FATS will pay for itself. How? I now ride with a guy who I didn’t know 4 years ago. He didn’t ride before FATS, but he was fat! He told he lost 30 pounds and bought himself a MTB. Started going to FATS, and it changed his life. He is now 50, fit, and beats me back to the car most of time.

      How much would he have cost medicare in the coming years had he not gotten fit? How much does it cost to treat one heart attack? Now think about the hundreds of people who share this story….just at FATS. Now think about the thousands around the country at other trails. I believe it is cheaper to build trails and have a fitter populace than building hospitals to care for unfit medicare patients.

      Sure, you can say ……we’ll just defund RTP and the trail users will volunteer and donate to keep these trails alive and more being built. I have been on the front lines of trail construction since about 1996…..and that is nonsense. It won’t happen. But that is just my opinion.

    • #106311
      "seenvic" wrote

      Your income taxes do not fund the RTP.
      Your gas taxes that go into your car that you drive to the trail does not fund the RTP.
      Snowmobiles, ATV, motocycles (off road) and (off road) Jeeps fund the RTP.

      Thanks for the background info Bill. Showing my ignorance a bit more here…

      So if the money has to go to trails by law, who is trying to take this money away from mountain bike trails? The ATV users? I guess I don’t understand who stands to benefit from stripping the money if it doesn’t go back into the general federal budget and has to be spent either way… Do the ATV and snowmobile guys have better lobbyists than us?

    • #106312
      "trek7k" wrote

      [Thanks for the background info Bill. Showing my ignorance a bit more here…

      So if the money has to go to trails by law, who is trying to take this money away from mountain bike trails? The ATV users? I guess I don’t understand who stands to benefit from stripping the money if it doesn’t go back into the general federal budget and has to be spent either way… Do the ATV and snowmobile guys have better lobbyists than us?

      No, the ATV and snowmobiles are aligned with other members of the trail family fighting to keep the funding in the RTP. The rule that says 30% of the money has 2b spent on motorized trails is inside of RTP……if RTP is defunded this rule goes away along with the money and the entire $85M reverts to other transportation spending.

      We are not fighting amongst the trail users for the $85M at this time. We are all on the same team trying to keep the $85M in funding for trails. If the RTP survives, then the grants are written and scored and in that process, we are competing for funding.

      Who is trying to take the money? The bill that will strip RTP funding has been submitted by Rep Steve King, a republican house member from Iowa. In my years of following this issue, I believe it is the more conservative members of our congress who have voted to strip the RTP funding. I believe it is their desire to see this funding spent on roads instead of trails. Pay down the debt……not so much.

    • #106313

      Gotcha – so the RTP money will go to general transportation funding if the bill is successful.

    • #106314
      "trek7k" wrote

      Gotcha – so the RTP money will go to general transportation funding if the bill is successful.

      I am not 100% sure of that, but that has always been the plan in other years in which the right has come after the RTP. Oh yea, the RTP renewal is never easy. It always gets challenged and spends time on the chopping block.

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