WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House and Senate have passed a version of the Highway bill that will increase the size of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF), also known as Wallop Breaux, by $110 million, reported the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation in a recent statement. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill recaptures the final 4.8 cents of the 18.3 cents per gallon tax on motorboat fuel, the foundation said, which is expected to total more than $110 million dollars a year.
“We will gladly put that nickel back into our pockets,” stated Jeff Crane, CSF president. “Without a doubt this was a group effort with the American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, along with many others. We owe a debt of gratitude to Congressmen Don Young and Clay Shaw, and Senators Inhofe, Lott and Baucus, who led the charge and stood up for anglers in a big way.”
“I was pleased to introduce this legislation on behalf of the sportfishing and boating community. With it's inclusion in the legislation passed today, we take another critical step towards the successful resolution of this multi-year effort to ensure that all of the tax money spent by boaters and anglers on motorboat fuel flows back to the preservation and restoration of the waterways we treasure,” stated Congressman Shaw, an avid angler, an active member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus.
Money from the ARTF is used for state-based boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access programs as well as for support of coastal wetlands, and marine sanitation device facilities, among others, explained CSF.
Originally established in 1950, the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act was amended in 1984 to include motorboat fuel taxes and small engine taxes. This amendment, named after bill sponsors former Senator Malcolm Wallop and then-Congressman John Breaux, created the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund that now provides the lion’s share of the $450 million that is distributed annually, reported the foundation.
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