PICKERINGTON, Ohio – Congress passed a five-year $305 billion highway bill Dec. 3 that includes several big wins for motorcyclists, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
“Some of these issues – such as motorcycle-only checkpoints and recreational trails funding — are ones we have been battling for several years, and it is a major victory to get language in the highway bill that meets our goals,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act includes:
- Continued funding for the Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding to states for maintaining, improving and expanding off-highway recreational opportunities;
- A prohibition against using federal funds for discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints;
- Reestablishing a Motorcyclist Advisory Council to coordinate with and counsel the U.S. Department of Transportation administrator on specific infrastructure concerns to motorcyclists;
- Funding of highway safety grants that include programs to reduce distracted driving, including language that make it easier for states to successfully qualify for and receive the money;
- Measures to ensure privacy and security in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology; and
- No expansion of pilot programs to place tolls on the nation’s existing interstate highways under the Interstate System Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Pilot Program.
With AMA support, administration of the Recreational Trails Program moved from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which was eliminated, into a separate standalone fund within the Federal Highway Administration.
“The new arrangement for the Recreational Trails Program provides more certainty and stability,” Allard said. “The TAP funding was a constant target for legislators who were looking for ways to cut programs that were not self-supporting. The RTP is funded by gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund by off-highway-vehicle users, but was in jeopardy by being lumped in with the other TAP programs.”
The ban on federal funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints comes after eight years of battling this discriminatory and ineffective law-enforcement …read more