For immediate release
March 01, 2012
Contact: Sheila Franklin
Silver Spring, MD–The American Hiking Society (AHS) presented Congressman Tom Petri (WI-6th) with a special recognition award at their 15th annual Hike the Hill® Congressional Trails Caucus Reception. The award recognizes Mr. Petri for his extraordinary effort to insure that the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was included in the recent House Transportation Bill. RTP is a twenty year old program administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that provides funds to the states (on a matching basis) for development and maintenance of recreational trails and their related facilities. The program is funded through a portion of the motor fuel tax applied to non-highway recreational fuel use such as all-terrain vehicles, off highway motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc.
“American Hiking Society is proud to recognize Congressman Tom Petri’s courageous bi-partisan efforts to protect the Recreation Trails Program in the current Transportation bill,” noted Gregory Miller, President of American Hiking Society. “From our country’s grand national parks to urban green spaces in the 6th District of Wisconsin, getting out on trails in the great outdoors remains a bedrock American value and provides an important part of living an active and healthy lifestyle. Rep. Petri’s unwavering commitment to protecting trails funding will ensure that youth and families will continue to have safe access to trails and local outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Mr. Petri, along with his colleague, Congressman Mike Michaud (ME-2nd) drafted and submitted a bi-partisan letter that was signed by 74 of their colleagues, to the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee urging it to support the inclusion of the highly successful Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in the transportation reauthorization bill. Their effort resulted in the program being included and with level funding authorization which is a major victory for the trails community across the nation.
“I have been a long-time supporter of the Recreational Trails Program which has funded literally thousands of projects across the country”, stated Mr. Petri. “A basic premise behind the program is that fuel taxes attributable to non-highway users are going back to benefit those who pay those taxes — the trail users. This program is small in size but has made a real difference to Americans who enjoy trails and the Great Outdoors in various ways. Rep. Michaud and I will continue our efforts to be sure that this program continues as the transportation authorization bill moves forward.”
The nation’s trails offer Americans boundless opportunities to enjoy nature, renew themselves and establish a lifetime of fitness. It is policy efforts like Mr. Petri’s that will ensure these natural places are cherished and preserved today for tomorrow’s generations.