Bush signs bill reauthorizing Aquatic Resources Trust Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President George W. Bush earlier last week signed the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEALU), which includes language reauthorizing the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF), better known as Wallop Breaux, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in a recent statement.

ARTF provides approximately $600 million per year to boating safety, infrastructure and access programs, sport fish restoration and other important boating programs, and its reauthorization has been a priority to the boating community.

Most significantly, the language includes a recapture of the entire 18.3 cent gasoline tax attributable to motorboats, which will mean more than $110 million additional dollars each year for boating safety and fish restoration programs, according to NMMA. Currently only 13.5 cents of the 18.3 cents collected on each gallon of motor-boat fuel is transferred to the ARTF; this reauthorization deposits the entire 18.3 cents into the trust fund.

“NMMA is proud to have been part of a coalition that helped not only get the trust fund reauthorized, but helped ensure the entire 18.3 cents a gallon of fuel tax boaters pay was recaptured into the ARTF where it belongs,” said NMMA Vice President of Government Relations Monita Fontaine.

“The programs funded by the trust fund are monumentally important to the recreational boating community,” added NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “Everything from providing better water access through more and improved boat ramps and docks to more pumpout stations and improving the stocks of important game fish will add to the boating experience and the economic health of the boating industry.”

The trust fund pays for a variety of state aquatic programs, including:

  • Development and maintenance of boating access facilities
  • Boating safety education and outreach
  • Enforcement of boating safety laws
  • Development of marine sanitation facilities
  • Acquisition and improvement of sport fish habitat
  • Stocking of fish
  • Fisheries research
  • Surveys and inventories of sport fish populations
  • Outreach and communications effort
  • “The programs supported by ARTF will benefit Americans for years to come,” said Fontaine. “This reauthorization will mean over $600 million annually to boating access efforts, safety programs, and wildlife restoration projects. The increased funding will benefit all boaters, anglers, boat and accessory manufacturers, marina operators, state and local governments and all Americans who enjoy our nation’s waterways.”

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