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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Horse Council and other groups that advocate recreational trails use are urging people to voice disapproval of an amendment that would strip all funding from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is planning to offer an amendment (S. Amdt 1742) to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations act (S.1243) that would transfer all funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program in order to pay for bridge repairs. RTP is part of the Transportation Alternatives Program and would lose all its funding in fiscal year 2014 if this amendment passes and the bill becomes law.

The AHC is urging recreational riders and trail users to call their Senators and ask them to vote no on Senate Amendment 1742 to the 2014 Transportation Appropriations bill (S. 1243). The equine advocacy group points out that 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.

A vote on this amendment is possible in the near future, the AHC announced, so it is important that trail user act now. More information is available by contacting the AHC directly at (202) 296-4031.

Another advocacy group, the Blue Ribbon Coalition, says the Recreational Trails Program is a time-tested, and successful funding program for outdoor recreation, “paid for from a small portion of the taxes you pay at the pump for gas that is not used on roads. The trails the RTP helps to fund, in turn, are the basis for literally billions of recreation dollars and associated taxes spent on goods and services in adjacent communities. Our communities depend on recreation and maintaining the integrity of the RTP all across the U.S. is essential.”

Information on contacting Senators can be found at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm , or by calling the Congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Ask for your Senators’ office.

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