The Colorado OHV Grant fund will have $5 million in surplus money returned to the program! Additionally, the program will receive an increase in funding of almost $2 million annually. This is a HUGE win for motorized recreation in Colorado and a great way to celebrate the continued success of the Colorado OHV Grant program now celebrating its 30th anniversary!
Earlier last year we were in the unfortunate position of having to report the sweep of $5 million in funds from the OHV program cash reserve in response to the COVID outbreak. We are pleased to announce that with the passage of SB 21-225 today, the $5 million in registration fund money has been returned to the CPW OHV program to be used for OHV purposes. In addition to the return of the surplus money, legislative spending authorizations for the OHV program increased from $4.3 million to $6 million annually. This will ensure that large cash reserves (i.e. the $5 million) will not accrue in the future and each year this money can be put to work for OHV related projects across Colorado the way it was intended.
“I’m philosophically opposed to using cash funds to balance the state’s budget. However, responding to the COVID pandemic required budget cuts no one wanted to make. When the time came to look at undoing some of the cuts we had to make last year, repaying the OHV fund became a priority of mine. I felt it was one of the more egregious cash fund sweeps we had to make. And given the fact that we have a lot of backcountry to repair due to overuse and historic wildfires, I wanted to pay back this fund in particular.” said Senator Bob Rankin (R District 8) member of the Joint Budget Committee and sponsor of Senate Bill 225.
“It’s not often that cash funds get repaid. We were fortunate enough to have Senator Rankin do much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes and working together, we were able to use PDAC’s membership to help educate the other members of the Joint Budget Committee on the serious need for backcountry trail repair. Once there was an agreement to repay OHV fund, we really just stepped out of the way and let the bill proceed through the legislative process without drawing any questions as to why this cash fund was getting repaid when others weren’t.” said Landon Gates, a lobbyist for the Powersports Dealers Association of Colorado(PDAC).
Good news for everyone
With all recreation uses seeing unprecedented increases in users the timing of this bill could not be better. This money was collected from OHV registrations and was intended to fund OHV projects and maintenance. These funds now can be used for that purpose. This is a big win for everyone that buys an in-state or out-of-state Colorado OHV registration and ALL users that utilize multi-use trail systems in Colorado!
The return of this funding has required a large amount of work behind the scenes. We would like to thank all of the following people and organizations for their part in making it all come together- the members of the Joint Budget Committee for passage of this legislation, particularly Representative Kim Ransom (R Distict 44) the House sponsor, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CDNR), Jerry Abboud of the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) and the lobbyists that worked with him, Don Riggle of the Trails Preservation Alliance(TPA), and everyone who wrote letters to the legislature in support of this effort.