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WISCONSIN RIDERS WORK CLOSELY WITH LEGISLATORS ON NEW ATV PROPOSALS

Pro-active state ATV Association lays out their ambitious plans with state Senator and Representatives.

From the National Off-Highway Coordinating Committee - October 2003

Map of Wisconsin

The Wisconsin ATV registration program was enacted in 1986. Since the program was officially recognized, ATV use has been growing rapidly. Within the last five years alone ATV registration numbers have nearly doubled. As referred to in this summary the "registration program" is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The intent of the registration program is to generate a self-sustaining funding source (not from taxpayer general revenue) which pays for all the ATV trail systems and related components associated with its management needs.

Since the inception of the original program, the fee amount has remained constant at $12 over a two year period. This dedicated registration income also includes a portion of the state gasoline road tax being added to the ATV segregated account. The formula used that calculates the gallons of gasoline used by each ATV rider are then multiplied by the number of ATVs registered in Wisconsin. This formula has never been updated or changed since it was introduced almost 17 years ago. Each year existing trail maintenance grants, along with proposals for new riding opportunities, are presented to the program administrators.

"There is no doubt whatsoever that Wisconsin needs additional miles of new ATV trails at the same time managing and maintaining the existing ones in a sustainable and environmental responsible manner. "

In the previous two year period the ATV grant requests exceeded available program revenue by close to 1.3 million dollars! There is no doubt whatsoever that Wisconsin needs additional miles of new ATV trails at the same time managing and maintaining the existing ones in a sustainable and environmental responsible manner.

The Wisconsin ATV Association, working in partnership with Wisconsin lawmakers, the Wisconsin DNR and Dept. of Tourism, the Powersports Dealers Association and associated businesses, various land managers and supportive local chapters have presented major legislative changes that are necessary to safeguard the ATV sport and allow it to grow in an environmentally and healthy manner.

SB-277 and AB-596 are identical bills. Senator Harsdorf is the original sponsor of SB-277 and Representative Pettis is the original sponsor of AB-596. In a nutshell here's what they change and improve:

1) Change the $12 two year registrations to $30 (same as snowmobiling). This includes equal rates of increase to commercial fees and transfers and duplicate sticker fees

2) Increase the fuel formula refund from 25 gallons to 52 (this will not cost us anything in additional dollars as consumers but uses a research study that proves our ATV fund is being shorted a massive amount of funding going to DOT versus our ATV SEG account!)

3) Creates a non-residential trail pass sticker that allows our out of state riders the ability to help pay for Wisconsin ATV trail costs while increasing their ease and convenience to ride here ($18 per year - same as the snowmobile model already in existence)

4) Increased revenues will provide substantially more trail aides in overall dollars plus be used to offset the anticipated "cost per mile" increase to maintain the much increased ATV traffic on existing trails - the past two years our ATV SEG fund was unable to fund all the requested trail grants by almost 1.3 million!

5) Provide funding to finish and distribute our economic impact study findings

6) Allows broader use for age restricted riders on private property

7) Sets a sound decibel limit and provides funding to test and enforce it

8) Increases OWI penalties

9) Increases County Sheriff's law enforcement aides for patrol

10) Creates ATV mandatory education starting with all children age 12-15 and all riders born after 1/1/88

11) Dollars to develop new ATV safety class curriculum + add a DNR staff FTE to accommodate the mandatory education implementation

12) Increase conservation wardens into the ATV program by 4 FTE ? FTE = Full Time Equivalent staff person

Quite a few changes indeed, wouldn't you say? But these are improvements that are well past due. I truly feel a majority of our state lawmakers and partners will support these changes if they know we want them. WATVA and the ATV community are counting on you, the everyday rider and enthusiast to emphatically ask your own state lawmaker to either co-sponsor or vote for these new ATV bills. You can find your own lawmakers by going on the web at www.legis.state.wi.us -- then go to "Who Are My Legislators" and a screen comes up that asks for your mailing address. Fill it in and hit "Search"and you'll find both lawmakers contact info via phone, U.S. mailing address or via e-mail. Either way, by phone, by e-mail or in person, we need you and your ATV family to contact our lawmakers to voice your support for these all important bills!

Wisconsin ATV Association, Inc.
5531B North Hwy 42
North Sheboygan, WI 53083
Phone (920) 565-7531
E-mail: info@watva.org
Web: www.watva.org

photo of ATVs on trail

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