I want to voice my strong opposition to the proposed moratorium on legitimately purchased expansions of State Vehicle Recreation Areas that the Assembly State Budget Committee included in the context of recalibrating fuel tax money transferred into the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trust Fund. See: https://carnegiejournal.com/2014/05/27/last-minute-attack-on-the-alamedatesla-expansion-by-the-budget-committee/
Someone is sneaking a reallocation of fuel taxes and a moratorium on off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation into a budget proposal rather than introducing these provisions in the regular BILL process thereby hoping to avoiding debate. The proposed moratorium is not warranted by any possible future reallocation of fuel taxes because the Alameda/Tesla Expansion has already been purchased and allocated for off road use.
Fuel taxes for fuel used off road, registration fees and use taxes are transferred into the OHV Trust Fund which is used to purchase and maintain State Off-Highway Vehicular Areas (SVRAs), including Carnegie SVRA and the Alameda/Tesla Expansion. The Alameda/Tesla Expansion (specifically targeted by the moratorium) was purchased with OHV Trust Fund money and appropriated for off-highway vehicle recreation by the legislature.
The stated reason for reallocation of fuel taxes is that there is a surplus in the OHV Trust Fund. This excuse ignores the fact that only fuel used for off-highway recreation and off highway access to non-OHV recreation is transferred into the OHV Trust Fund. The share of fuel tax money for OHV is carefully calibrated as directed by state law. What is not mentioned is that much of the surplus was created by last year’s budget when the legislature put a cap on money devoted to grants and cooperative agreements.
Fuel tax is collected at the refinery level and the majority of it is transferred into the Roads and Highway Trust Fund where most of the fuel is used. Relatively small amounts are transferred into other special funds like the Boats and Waterways Revolving Fund, the Aeronautics Account, Department of Food and Agriculture Fund, and the OHV Trust Fund. Quibbling over the exact amount transferred into the OHV trust fund is just an excuse for the moratorium which would effectively prevent the Alameda/Tesla Expansion from opening for OHV use.
The Division of OHV Recreation is in the process of drawing up a general plan incorporating public input and utilizing the best practices as set out in the Code to balance off road recreation with conservation and resource management for the Alameda/Tesla Expansion. The moratorium would defeat the general plan. A provision slipped into the state budget cannot overturn the process of adopting a general plan which is mandated by a procedure totally controlled by state law.
The adoption of a general plan precedes the implementation of an environmental impact statement. In effect, the moratorium prevents an Environmental Impact Statement from being reviewed by the public and then adopted by the Division of OHV Recreation.
Again, any intent to recalibrate the amount of fuel tax transferred to the OHV Trust Fund does not affect property already legitimately purchased and appropriated for OHV use. It is a retroactive and illegal maneuver to try and stop the ongoing planning process leading to the adoption of an of an Environmental Impact Statement and the opening of the Alameda/Tesla Expansion by the Division.
I strongly oppose this reallocation of fuel tax and related moratorium and I feel that they are punitive actions targeted ONLY against OHV recreation.