RTP grants, bike plate funding, and sales
As you may (or may not know), the money that is generated by the sales of the mountain bike plate are directed to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to be used for trail building, maintenance and improvement for recreational trails (as long as they are open to mountain biking.) Mountain Bike Idaho has no authority or control over the funds. We have been told by IDPR that they may or may not distribute bike plate funds this year and if they do so, they may or may not do so within their existing work related to the federal Recreational Trail Program grant process. The RTP funds are part of the Transportation Administration's budget. If you've been following the news, Congress hasn't yet approved the bill(s) that would approve new RTP funding. So, it looks like with respect to the bike plate funds, we may be in a wait-and-see position right now. We personally here would love to see the funds start going into trails now that we're beginning trail building and maintenance season, but when, where and to whom the money may go is at the complete discretion of IDPR.
Which leads to sales of the license plate. After a quick start in 2011, it appears that the pace of sales is slowing. Only 21 new plates were sold in March; 11 other plates (of 28) outsold the mountain bike plate last month. If we don't have 1000 plates sold and on cars by the end of next year - and maintain at least 1000 active plates for the following two years - then IDT is required by law to terminate the entire plate program. If you have a plate, you will not be allowed to renew it. And more importantly, the trail funding budget disappears. If you're reading this, it's our guess that you may have a plate already. If you do, try to get one person you know to buy a new one. Just one. If we can get everybody who has a plate to convince one new person to buy a plate, we will hit our plate sales requirement. They don't even have to be a mountain biker - if they use recreational trails throughout the state, then they have a vested interest in seeing the program continue.
If you don't have a plate, you can get one at any time. All it takes is a stop at your local DMV office. It takes 5 minutes to buy your plate. You don't have to wait until your current plates expire. If you want a personalized plate, you can do that right now - just go to https://www.accessidaho.org/secure/itd/personalized/plates.html and order your plate. Either way, your plates will come on in the mail in 2 - 4 weeks. Simple and painless.
So, please convince a friend, neighbor, riding or hiking buddy or anybody who likes our trails to buy a plate - or just get one yourself!