This week, New York snowmobilers won an important victory after Governor Paterson announced that the state will nearly double the amount of funding for snowmobile trail maintenance and development to $5.34 million during the 2008-09 fiscal year.
The increase in funding will result from new procedures at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to ensure that the funds paid to the state from snowmobile registration fees will only be used to promote snowmobiling through trail maintenance and other related programs.
The governorís action marks an important victory for my colleagues and I who collected hundreds of petitions this year calling for the return of $1 million that was intended for the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund, but was instead swept into the state budget to help pay for this yearís bloated spending plan. While the governorís plan may help ensure that future funding will go toward snowmobile trail maintenance, the $1 million should still be rightfully restored.
To prevent further transfers of funds from accounts that are specifically supported with a dedicated fee, I am sponsoring Assembly Bill 10732. While I applaud the governor for taking action to address this issue, we need legislation to ensure that similar misuses of state funding no longer occur.
The snowmobiling and tourism industries are an important part of Western New Yorkís economy and need to be protected. I am pleased that the governor answered some of the demands of legislators and the hundreds of snowmobile enthusiasts who signed our petitions demanding that future funds be restored.
While it was a hard fought victory, it was one that my colleagues and I could not have won without the support of hundreds of snowmobile and outdoor enthusiasts. It was the voice of opposition from these men and women which led to this triumph. I am confident that with continued support from the people of this great state, we can continue to make strides to improve the lives of all New Yorkers.
Member of the Assembly