WASHINGTON (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — President Obama on Dec. 4 signed into law, H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, which includes reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund through 2020.
The fund, originally the Wallop/Breaux Trust Fund, serves as the backbone of boating safety, infrastructure, clean water and fisheries conservation funding in the United States.
BoatUS said in a release that the practical “user pay, everyone benefits” program uses federal boat fuel and fishing tackle taxes to protect natural aquatic resources, enhance boating safety and provide more recreational fishing and boating opportunities.
Since its inception, more than $7.5 billion has been collected and allocated to the states. More recently since 2004, more than 3.8 billion fish have been stocked, 11,000 plus boat ramps and access sites have been created or renovated and more than 1,100 plus transient boating facilities built, 4.7 million students taught aquatic education, more than 63,000 acres of fish habitat protected and more than half a million boaters, sailors and anglers have completed an approved state boating safety education course, BoatUS said.
Margaret Podlich, president of BoatUS, said in the release, that while “some in Washington might have viewed these boaters and anglers tax dollars as a way to solve their own budget problems.” BoatUS along with the Angling and Boating Alliance — an ad hoc coalition of national recreational boating, angling, outdoor recreation interests, conservation groups, and state boating safety and natural resources agencies committed to the sustainable future of the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund — has worked hard to make certain the funds continue to be use for key boating and fishing programs.
The passage of H.R. 22 is a victory for boaters and anglers, Podlich said. “This reauthorization ensures that the money boaters and anglers pay stays intact for the intended use: saving lives, keeping our fish stocks healthy and making it easier to enjoy the water.”