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Friday, March 17, 2006

All Terrain Vehicle Bill Raised Bill 5806

So, the environmental groups got together (I think this might have been largely pushed by CFPA) and put together this bill for CT State Legistlature.

This bill is a compromise. The language requires the state purchase two parcels through bonding for use as ATV facilities through bonding.

It will require universal (biennial) registration of all ATVs - $75.00 in state, $100.00 out of state This shall close the loophole that has been liberally applied by an estimated 77,000 ATV riders who claim they only ride in their yards.

The registration fees will be divided in such a way that part of the registration will go towards paying down the bond debt. Part of the registration will go towards the maintenance of the facilities, and the purchase of new facilities. Another portion of the registration fees will go towards law enforcement. Farm and forestry vehicles will have a separate, no cost/low cost plate.

With passage of this bill, lands purchased for natural resource protection and passive recreation shall no longer be considered for ATV use.

After the purchase of the two ATV facilities, any rider who is caught riding without registration and identification shall be fined $500.00 for each offense - $100. of which will go to the arresting authority –be it a municipal law enforcement officer or a DEP conservation officer.

Because of a drafting error, the universal registration component was not inserted. We are working with the committee to correct this. Please when you contact your legislators, and the environment committee remind them that the bill is useless without universal registration.
Potential revenue shortfalls will mean the bond debt won't be repaid, the ATV facilities won't be maintained, the account will not grow to purchase further facilities, and law enforcement, already compromised will be further.

Without universal registration we will be forced to kill the bill. I can say quiteconfidentiallyy, that no legislation for ATVs will ever get through the legislature without registration and identification.
Last week I read followed links to NETRA and CTTrailRiders and read the opposite camp's opinion on this bill. It was pretty interesting. Most of them recognize the need for land to ride on and realize that this bill sort of makes sense and then there are those in the ATV community that want to defeat this bill altogether. I think it's a step in the right direction. I think its sort ofquandaryy. The environmental groups (in this case non-motorized trailusers) want more teeth to deter ATV use on their trails by giving the ATV riders a legal place to ride. Simple enough. I am sure the ATV users want a legal place to ride, too. But like any group that you tell that they will have to pay to play you are going to get instant friction. Land isn't cheap and if they don't do anything soon the land is going to be swallowed up by developers.

I see quad damage in many of the non-State Parks that I ride in and frankly its appalling. These people have no qualms about tearing up the land and believe me, they are not just riding in their backyards. Where there is money to be gained, I don't see why the State Legistlature is not falling overthemselves to pass this bill. If there are 77,000 ATVs in the state, that's roughly $5.8M per year in registration fees. Drop the $800K for administration and you still have quite a chunck of change to buy some land. If I have to register my boat that I seldom use in CT waters, I don't see why not these guys won't register their quads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you had a pond in your back yard you would not have to register your boat!!! if you want to use the river you pay. If there was a state forest to ride in like Mass then we would pay.