Hello Trail Users, welcome to the new year and we hope it will be less rain than last year. Just an update to the letter that Brian Bronson sent to your clubs about LD 977 gas tax bill that ATV Maine submitted almost 2 years ago. We are including the information that Brian sent out yesterday after the bill was scheduled. Yesterday the UMO Professor reported back to the IF&W committee that the gas tax disbursement is out of date because of two reasons, one is the numbers haven’t been updated since 2001 when the original study was released, and our growth has grown rapidly to equal or surpass snowmobiling.
This is really no news to the ATV community we knew this has been happening for a while. So, at last year’s hearing the committee decided to support a new study by the same professor that did the original study. They only approved a smaller study to save money and what they wanted to find out was what should ATVing be getting for gas tax money if they just took the original study but added the increase in registrations. ATVing has grown big over the years and snowmobiling has gone down around 10% and Boating loss registrations also but, in the end, ATVing never received any more gas tax money since the 2001 original study,
This new study has proved that this was happening, and they even found out that Boating was receiving half a million more than they are supposed to get. ATV Maine’s goal has been from the beginning that we only wanted what was due to us and we never asked to take it from either snowmobiling or boating and just wanted to make this perfectly clear that myself or our lobbyist never asked to do this, we want them to increase the gas tax amount for ATVing and leave snowmobiling and boating alone. Right now, the IF&W legislative committee is in agreement that this needs to be done so they are having a meeting next Monday with our lobbyist for ATV Maine and the lobbyist for the MSA , IF&W dept heads and Brian Bronson Maine state ATV coordinator and Joe Higgins Maine state snowmobile coordinator to sit down and come up with some numbers that we can agree on to make a recommendation to the IF&W committee so they can pass LD 977 on to the Transportation committee with our recommendations because that is where the new gas tax money will have to come from.
As you all can see there are a lot of moving parts to this bill, but we believe in the end we will prevail and receive more of our gas tax money that will go to maintaining and building our trails. In the next few weeks, we will find out exactly how much money we can expect to receive and we will keep you all informed. I want to thank Keith Herrick of Dirigo Associates, ATV Maine’s lobbyist for doing a fantastic job for all of us and my board at ATV Maine in supporting me. In closing I want to personally thank the 65+ clubs that belong to ATV Maine for their support because without them we wouldn’t be able to hire our lobbyist and this my trail users shows what can be done when we work together, WE ALL BENEFIT! Until next time!