Senator George Maziarz today announced that a major victory has been won in the ongoing effort to protect and enhance snowmobile trail development funds.
“Western New York has the most dense concentration of snowmobilers in the State of New York,” Senator Maziarz said. “This is an extremely popular recreational activity here, but it can only be as good as the trails people ride on. For too long we’ve been shortchanged in funding from Albany, and now, finally, all of the money earmarked for trail development will be used for that purpose.”
Revenues collected from snowmobile registration fees are deposited into a dedicated trail development and maintenance account. However, earlier in the year, $1 million from this account was “swept” away into the state’s general fund to fill other budget gaps. Snowmobilers from around the state were outraged at the unjustified loss of their trail development funds.
"Registration fees are collected to help maintain trails and that’s the only thing the money should be used for,” Senator Maziarz said. “Snowmobilers had every right to be upset. Now, we’re getting back on track.
Under the new plan, the total amount of money available for local trail improvement grants will be based on the actual value of collected fees, which is typically higher than overly-conservative revenue estimates used to determine this figure in the past. This year, over $5.34 million will be allocated for trail improvements, nearly twice the amount spent in 2007.
Gary Broderick, a Niagara County resident who serves as Vice President of the New York State Snowmobiling Association, said, “We are very pleased that this new plan will result in more funding for snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling pumps over $1 billion into New York State’s economy, and taking funds away from trails would only hurt our communities. We commend Senator Maziarz and Governor Paterson for working together and achieving something very positive for snowmobilers.” Broderick is also the Niagara County Snowmobile Trail Coordinator and Vice President of the Shawnee Sno-Chiefs.
“It was the State Senate that put pressure on the Governor to solve the problem his administration created,” Senator Maziarz added. “The snowmobile sweep was a terrible move and we were not shy about making its negative implications known to the Governor. We even passed special legislation to restore the $1 million that was originally lost. But now, we can all recognize that this is a good result for everyone.”