Klobuchar secures continuation of Recreational Trails Program
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today (Wednesday, March 14) that she has secured the continuation of the Recreational Trails Program as part of a larger Surface Transportation bill.
The program helps maintain recreational trails for snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts in Minnesota and across the country. The program had been cut from the original Surface Transportation legislation, but Klobuchar worked with a bipartisan group of senators to ensure it continued.
“Minnesota snowmobilers and countless other outdoor enthusiasts benefit from the use of these trails,” Klobuchar said. “It’s important that we continue this program that helps Minnesotans enjoy the winter months outdoors and benefits our businesses.”
The Recreational Trails Program provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Klobuchar’s provision would give states the flexibility to opt out of the program.
The Recreational Trails Program is administered by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and fully funded by fuel taxes paid by motorized trail users. Federal transportation funds benefit outdoor recreation including snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian, cross-country skiing, off-road motorcycling, four-wheel driving, and the use of other off-road motorized vehicles.
Other Klobuchar news
Sen. Klobuchar also announced that her bipartisan provision co-sponsored by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to fully restore the Agriculture Hours-of-Service exemption across the full food and farm supply chain passed the Senate as part of a larger Surface Transportation bill. Restoring the exemption would make it easier for farmers to transport goods and get products to the market during critical planting and harvesting seasons. Klobuchar serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Commerce Committee.
“During the planting and harvesting seasons, farmers need to be able to get fertilizer and other supplies to their farms quickly and efficiently, otherwise their crops and businesses may suffer,” Klobuchar said. “This initiative will help ensure that unnecessary red tape doesn’t get in the way of our farmers having the resources and tools they need to successfully run their farms and provide the food and fuel our country needs.”
Currently, drivers transporting agricultural supplies during the planting and harvesting periods are only exempt from Hours-Of-Service (HOS) rules – which limit when and how long truck drivers may drive – when they are transporting just one farm supply from just the retailer to the farms, and the exemption does not include any other good or supply transported from the farm to retailer or source to the retailer – a critical segment of the farm and food supply chain. Klobuchar’s provision would fully restore the HOS exemption to agriculture goods transported from source to retailer to farm, allowing for an uninterrupted supply chain that will help ensure farmers get the supplies they need in a timely and efficient manner.
The bill is supported by nearly 50 national and state agricultural organizations including the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, the National Farmers Union, the National Farm Bureau, the Cooperative Network, and the American Soybean Association.
More Klobuchar news
Klobuchar yesterday (Tuesday, March 13) cosponsored legislation to crack down on excessive oil speculation that is driving up gas prices and damaging the economy. The bill would establish clear position limits on Wall Street oil speculators and cap energy speculation as a percentage of the overall market. A recent report shows that oil speculation raises gas prices an average 56 cents per gallon, hurting consumers at the pump and increasing costs for farmers and businesses. Earlier this month, Klobuchar wrote a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) pressing the agency to expedite long-stalled rules on speculative position limits in America’s oil and gasoline markets. Klobuchar serves on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee that oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“Out-of-control speculation on Wall Street is driving up gas prices, hurting consumers and increasing costs for farmers and businesses,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation will help reign in this excessive speculation and give drivers some relief at the pump.”
Oil speculators now control over 80 percent of the energy futures market, a figure that has more than doubled over the past decade. Studies have shown that excessive trading in oil futures is causing price volatility unrelated to supply-and-demand fundamentals and contributing to high gas prices that are hurting consumers at the pump.
The Anti-Excessive Speculation Act would drain excessive speculation from the energy markets through three major steps. First, it would, for the first time, define what constitutes excessive speculation. The lack of a clear definition of excessive speculation is a major reason why past regulatory and legislative efforts have failed. Second, the bill would establish clear, precise statutory position limits on individual speculators. No single trader could hold more than 5 percent of the oil market for speculative purposes. Third, it would cap energy speculation as a percentage of the overall market. The cap would be set at its 25-year historic average.
Klobuchar has fought to increase energy efficiency in vehicles and buildings to reduce energy bills and save consumers money. She was part of a bipartisan group of senators that worked to reach a compromise and pass the 2007 Energy Bill which included a series of incentives for the development of new, more efficient consumer technologies, including increasing gas mileage for cars.