An act introduced in Congress aims to make sure projects like the Dakota Rail Trail and the Luce Line Trail get the funding they need for years to come.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., introduced the RTP Full Funding Act in October. RTP stands for Recreational Trails Program, which is a federal program that was established in 1991 to provide funding to states to develop and maintain outdoor recreational trails.
“Minnesota snowmobilers, hikers, ATV users, cyclists and countless others who enjoy the outdoors rely on the Recreational Trails Program to explore our state’s natural wonders and support our local businesses,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure states receive all of the resources they deserve to protect and improve these trails for generations to come.”
The program has provided funding for 20 projects in Minnesota, including several in the Lake Minnetonka area. Such as:
The Luce Line Trail from Orono to Watertown. In 2002, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received $100,000 from the program to make improvements to the trail.
The Dakota Rail Trail in Minnetrista. In 2009, the city of Minnetrista received $14,500 from the program to connect a parking lot to the trail.
The city of Mound in 2002 received $60,799 from the program to purchase snowmobile equipment for construction and maintenance.
In 1996, Hennepin County Parks received $25,000 from the program for trail maintenance in Plymouth.
The Recreational Trails Program Funding Act would make sure the federal money collected for this program is “maximized to support trail projects in the future,” a news release says. Specifically, the act aims to increase the accuracy and transparency of program funding by requiring a study to determine how much money is collected for the program through non-highway recreational fuel taxes. It would also improve reporting on expenditures from the program in order to improve accountability and oversight and streamline program funding distribution to states by reducing “unnecessary” paperwork.
The act is supported by recreational groups, including snowmobilers, cyclists, hikers and off-highway vehicle groups, the release notes.