For Immediate Release: December 12, 2018
RECREATION PASSPORT REFORMS MEAN NEW LEVELS OF PARKS AND TRAILS FUNDING
Lansing, MI – Michigan Trails commends the actions of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee today in passing Senate Bills 1258 and 1259 to amend the Recreation Passport program and advance new funding levels for state and local parks and trails.
“We applaud this move by Senator Hansen and senate committee leadership to pass this important recreation-based legislation. Implementing the originally intended version of the Recreation Passport will mean millions more dollars for funding of local parks and trails,” said Bob Wilson, Executive Director of Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.
Senate Bills 1258 and 1259 will amend the state’s successful Recreation Passport program to provide significantly more funding for state and local parks and trails as its creators intended. Residents familiar with this 8-year old program to provide easy access to our parks and trails can now simply fill out their annual motor vehicle registration forms with the $11 Recreation Passport fee automatically assessed at the time of registration. Residents can still elect to not accept the added fee.
The bills also increase the amount of the Recreation Passport dedicated to local recreation grants from 10% to 15% of the collected revenue, thus providing significant new levels of funding for local trails and parks. Both key recreation-funding bills will now move to the Senate floor for consideration.
Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance urges all trail and park users to contact their state senator and representative and voice your support for this important legislation. To contact your legislator, visit www.michigantrails/getinvolved. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is the statewide voice for nonmotorized trail users, helping people build, connect and promote trails for a healthier and more prosperous Michigan.
CHANGES TO THE RECREATION PASSPORT WILL MEAN SIGNIFICANT FUNDING INCREASES FOR STATE AND LOCAL PARKS AND TRAILS
SB 1258 and 1259 will amend the current Recreation Passport program to provide significantly more funding for state and local parks and trails by allowing for residents to simply fill out their annual motor vehicle registration forms with the $11 Recreation fee automatically assessed at the time of registration. Residents can still elect to not accept the added fee. The bills also increase the amount of the Recreation Passport dedicated to local recreation grants from 10% to 15% of the collected revenue, thus providing significant new levels of funding for local trails and parks. Both of these bills are being considered in the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee tomorrow. Letters of support can be sent to the Committee Clerk
Sample Comments As Provided by Detroit Greenways Coalition:
December 11, 2018
Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee
Dear Committee members,
The Detroit Greenways Coalition supports Senate Bills 1258 and 1259.
SB 1258 would make the Recreation Passport an opt-out rather than opt-in fee. As an original member of the Citizens Committee for Michigan State Parks, we helped craft this park funding framework with the late Senator Patty Birkholz. At the time, we’d preferred it be an opt-out. However, this was a new, yet unproven public funding strategy in Michigan which fostered some political uncertainty. At the time, opt-in was “safer” and achieveable.
After many very successful years of operations, the Recreation Passport has proven itself. We think it’s time to make it an opt-out. This change will encourage more people to take advantage of our state parks, including Belle Isle. It will also increase Passport funding that is available for local park and trail grants.
We also support SB 1259’s adjustments to the Passport allocation. This too will increase local park and trail grants to help us meet our vision for a citywide network of trails across all of Detroit.
Our Vision is a strong, healthy, vibrant City of Detroit and surrounding region where a seamless network of greenways, green spaces, blue ways and complete streets is an integral part of
people’s active lifestyle including day-to-day transportation and recreation.
Sample Comments As Provided by MTGA:
December 12, 2018
Senator Geoff Hansen,
Senate Office Building
Lansing, MI 48933
Re: SB 1258 and 1259
Dear Senator Hansen:
Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is the statewide voice for the nonmotorized trail community helping to build and manage trails for a healthier and more prosperous Michigan. We advocate for trails policy and funding and work with communities all over the state to help to promote land and water trails at the local, state and federal level.
We are a part of a large conservation coalition working directly with the Governor for passage of an expanded Recreation Passport program to model our state program after what the State Park Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommended years ago when the original program was first being discussed by the legislature. We support the recommendation of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to build the program after the successful Montana program that is an “opt-out” rather than the current “opt-in” approach. We believe that after 10 years of the public being familiar with the incredible value of the Recreation Passport that it is prudent to return to the original model envisioned by the legislature and that the citizens of this state are fully aware of the choice that can be made to support the program.
We remain hopeful that your legislation will move quickly and allow Michigan to finally embrace the original version of the Recreation Passport program that will provide significant increases in funding for both our state and local parks and trails. We also support the proposed increase from 10% to 15% in the amount of the Recreation Passport revenue going to the local recreation grants program that helps to fund local trails and parks, which is clearly the number one recreational need in the state.
Bob Wilson, Executive Director