JULY 2012 - ARRA
The Congress finally completed its work reauthorizing our nation's transportation programs. As a part of that package, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was retained. From the very beginning, it has been a hard fought fight. This is a HUGE victory and the motorized recreation community played a major role ensuring this success.
The program was seriously threatened when the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee decided to consolidate RTP with a host of other programs. We knew this "reform" retained RTP in name only and that from a practical stand point, the program was headed towards extinction. To further complicate the situation, the transportation reauthorization process in the House of Representatives had come to a screeching halt.
In response to this bleak legislative situation, we decided that we had to do something to change the political equation for RTP. ARRA did the following:
Decided to fight the committee's action in order to save RTP
Participated in recruiting Senator Amy Klobuchar (D. MN) to serve as the chief sponsor of a RTP amendment
Participated in recruiting Senator James Risch (R. ID) to serve as the lead Republican sponsor of the Klobuchar amendment
Held more than 30 meetings in the Senate on the RTP issue
Held strategy sessions with the sponsors of the RTP amendment
Worked closely with other organizations in the recreation community
Enlisted thousands of ARRA members to contact their Senators and Representatives in support of RTP.
While we knew we had strong support in the House of Representatives for RTP, the fact that the House had failed to pass a transportation measure made for a very unusual bicameral legislative process. Other transportation and non-transportation issues further complicated the whole negotiating process and the final fate for RTP was held hostage pending the resolution of these other contentious issues. As the months dragged on, we never gave up on advocating for the Recreational Trails Program and neither did ARRA supporters.
To those of you who time and again contacted your Senators and Representatives on the importance of keeping RTP, a BIG THANK YOU! Your efforts, along with those of thousands of other recreationists, made the difference in keeping this program alive and well.