New York & Mississippi RTP In Danger Hot
If you live in NY or MS, immediate action is needed to help save funding opportunities for your trails - See ACTION ITEM below!
We received an urgent request for action from Marianne Wesley Fowler and Derrick A. Crandall with the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT).
BRC works with CRT in efforts to preserve the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).
Marianne and Derrick sent us word that the RTP programs in New York and Mississippi are in very real danger of being lost to the opt-out process offered to the state governors under MAP-21, the new transportation legislation that authorizes the RTP program.
They say that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has opened the door to unilateral action by state's Department of Transportation by specifically allowing opt-out notice by "the Governor's designee" and not requiring that this designee be the individual identified by the Governor as responsible for the RTP program.
Why is this a major problem? Because in New York, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is responsible for the RTP, not the New York State Department of Transportation.
In Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is responsible for the RTP, not the Mississippi State Department of Transportation.
The instruction language is apparently being interpreted by some in FHWA as "the Governor's designee" for MAP-21. In our view, the FHWA addition of a provision allowing the opt out via "the Governor's designee" is not in compliance with the law as passed. Here is the exact language from MAP-21:
''(g) STATE FLEXIBILITY.-A State may opt out of the recreational trails program under subsection (f) if the Governor of the State notifies the Secretary not later than 30 days prior to apportionments being made for any fiscal year.''
We must do all that we can before September 1st to ensure that these state Governors understand the importance of this program and how many of their constituents care passionately about trails and the RTP.
Please contact your Governor and ask them not to opt out of the worthy RTP program. Don't assume your Governor knows the value of Rec Trails. Help them understand the importance of the RTP to both motorized and non-motorized trail users, and to the state's economy so the green visor folks in your state won't convince them otherwise.
Contact information for each Governor is listed below.
The Honorable Phil Bryant
Governor of Mississippi
State Capitol Building
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: (601) 359-3150
Fax: (601) 359-3741
Contact Governor Phil Bryant via Web Form.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: (518) 474-8390
Fax: (518) 474-1513
Contact Governor Andrew Cuomo via Web Form.
Thank you and as always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.
Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 107
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org