The U.S. President signed the $105-billion Highway Transportation
Bill on July 6, bringing an end to a three-year fight over fishing and boating
spending. This is an important
development for the boating industry because the Highway Transportation Bill
contains the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund re-authorization. MRAA
has been working with other fishing and boating groups to design workable
language for a couple of years only to face the complications of the Highway
Bill re-authorization. Congressional
staff and Members advised to keep the old Wallop-Breaux language as simple as
possible to ensure a clean re-authorization.
As a result, no changes were made from the previous seven years; it simply
extended the programs until the end of 2014.
The Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund is
currently a $650-million-per-year fund that helps to finance fresh and salt water fish hatcheries, fishing and boating outreach and promotion, boating
access, the Clean Vessel Act pump out stations, boating law enforcement and
equipment purchases, boat operator education, and other key programs.
Work will soon begin on the re-authorization of the fishing
and boating trust fund on December 31, 2014.