VICTORY The timeline of how America’s “Boating Trust Fund” survived its rocky journey through Congress BY RYCK LYDECKER
Dec. 19, 2009:
Highway Bill for
72 days, until
Spring 2010: Based on
the political climate and
threat that Trust Fund
dollars could be raided,
the Alliance shifts strategy to focus on reauthorization without changes.
Mar. 2, 2010:
Bill until March
Mar. 2010: BoatU.S.
creates Alliance briefing materials to educate
Congress about accomplishments, and promote
benefits of “Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating
Mar. 17, 2010:
With budget negotiations worsening,
the Highway Bill
for nine months,
until Dec. 31, 2010.
Dec. 21, 2010: With
no resolution to the
Highway Bill into the
112th Congress, until
March 4, 2011.
BoatU.S. lobbyists & Alliance
Trust Fund merits
to wavering congressmen.
Mar. 29, 2012:
bill for three
June 30, 2012.
Spring 2012: “We kept daily
track of unrelated proposals that
members of Congress threw into
the mix,” says Podlich, “to ensure
nothing derailed reauthorization,
or worse, siphoned off boaters’
The Highway Bill was controversial – a 584-page, $150-billion transportation juggernaut designed to fund road construction, bridge
repair, highway safety, mass transit, federal flood insurance, set new
calculations for corporate pensions, and hold the interest-rate limit
on student college loans – all spending measures that Congress
fought about until, literally, the eleventh hour.
Our BoatU.S. Government Affairs office, working through the
Angling and Boating Alliance, spent literally hundreds of hours fighting to keep the Trust Fund in play, and protect boater dollars from
politicians trying to siphon money off for other uses. Like most federal legislation, the Trust Fund’s voyage to reauthorization followed a
long and winding course through shoals and surprise squalls, making
important landfalls along the way. Follow its journey above.
June 29, 2012: The Highway
Bill is set to permanently
expire within the day. At 2:00
p.m., Congress votes. The bill
passes the House, 373 to 52;
the Senate, 74 to 19. The Trust
Fund survives intact.
July 6, 2012: President Obama
signs the Highway Bill into law,
keeping a solid keel under recreational boating for two more years
by reauthorizing the Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating Trust Fund
through Sept. 30, 2014.
WHERE THE MONEY WENT
BOATING TRUST FUND ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM 2004 TO 2009:
■ $570 million to states for on-water safety, enforcement and education
■ 70,000 acres of wetlands habitat restored and managed
■ 3. 8 billion fish stocked
■ 4. 7 million students provided aquatic resource education
■ 859 new boating ramps built in 2009
■ 1,327 ramp sites, including parking and docks, renovated or improved
■ 1,171 transient boat tie-up facilities created
■ 2,355 boat-sewage pumpout stations built
BOATING TRUST FUND ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2009 ALONE:
■ 12,748 state search-and-rescue cases
■ 56,142 boaters assisted by state boating agencies
■ 1,972,368 hours of on-water safety patrols