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Jason 05-10-2013 09:07 PM

Increased cost for ORV tag in 2014?

Page 7 (February 2013)
Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs):
The FY14 Executive Budget includes $2.7 million in new
revenue to the ORV Trail Improvement Fund from the proposed changes to ORV license fees.

What is the structure and cost of current ORV sticke
rs and trail permits?

Currently, ORV owners are required to annually purchase an ORV license for $16.25.
ORV owners are not required to have a license to ride on their own private property
or as a guest on private property (MCL 324.81102). Of each license sold, $15 is
deposited in the ORV Trail Improvement Fund, $1 is deposited in the ORV Safety
Education Fund and $0.25 is retained by the seller as commission.

What increase and new fee structure is proposed?

This proposal would require ORV owners to annually purchase an ORV license for a
fee of $26.25. From that, $25 would be deposited in the ORV Trail Improvement Fund,
$1 would be deposited in the ORV Safety Education Fund, and the remaining $0.25
would remain with the seller. ORV owners would need to pay an additional $10 to
ride on state trails; that money would be deposited in the ORV Trail Improvement
Fund. Current exemptions contained in MCL 324.81102 would still apply.
ORV tags increase by $10, with an additional charge of $10 to ride state trails. Which state trails will require the additional charge? Which ones won't?

If the additional money went to somehow improving or expanding the trail system, I can get on board with it. However, I don't trust any of these politicians to do as they say once the money is in their hand. That goes double for anything that has Gov. Snyder's name on it.

$25 of the base $26.50 goes to the trail improvement fund; where does the extra $10 surcharge for riding state trails go?

The same document indicates one purpose of the increase is to expand the trail system by about 10%. How does this justify a cost increase of 125% in license fees?

I have two Jeeps to tag. I haven't gone anywhere in the last few years that actually needed an ORV tag because they both carry a license plate, but bought them anyways "just in case," and the $16.25 per isn't that big of a deal. But if that goes to $36.25 each, I may not tag both or either.

phittie1100 05-11-2013 05:29 AM

The article you posted shows that both $25 and the $10 go to the trail improvement fund - the fund is self funded and only for use in the ORV program, and currently broke. The fee has not increased in over a decade. The trail improvement fund pays for law enforcement, admin costs, damage remediation and most importantly maintenance of the system, which is paid to groups like GLFWDA and CCC under the trail maintenance grant program. I have been pushing for an increase since 2008 when we could see the writing on the walk that the fund would be broke by 2011-2012. Not sure how DNR stretched it to 2012-2013 before we went broke, but the ORV program cannot function without an increase. The advisory group I participated in back in 2008 actually came up with a need/want/desire list for the program that would have pushed the fee to $42 or so, but common sense said no one would get that big of an increase approved.

Jason 05-11-2013 05:55 AM

Thanks Paul. I figured you'd have some insight. Which trails would require the $10 surcharge? I missed that sentence right below stating it would go to the same fund, despite reading it several times. (It was late.)

Same doc says revenue as increased to 3.3 million. 8.8% in 10 years time. If revenue has increased, why is the fund broke?

Like I said, I can support an increase if the money actually goes to expanding the trail system. I feel that 125% is pretty steep of an increase, especially when someone has multiple tags.

bobjp 05-13-2013 07:11 AM

Just for clarification, does the $10 only apply to "trails"? So vehicles that want to ride "trails" require 2 stickers? Based upon the wording of the document, the $10 will not apply to licensed vehicles on ORV "routes" (currently requires no sticker) or any vehicle in ORV "areas" like Silver Lake?

I can appreciate cost increases, but 125%? As mentioned above, revenue increases should count for something, and:


The current ORV license fee has not changed since 1996. From 1996 to 2014, inflation (Detroit Consumer Price Index) is expected to increase 48.4 percent.

So 48% vs 125% + 8% in revenue increase? How has money been spent, and how will this new money be spent - not in generalities? A couple graphs would go a long way.

phittie1100 05-13-2013 02:57 PM

For starters, we have a larger trail system than we did in 1994. Over a period of years, the trails and routes got a bit run down due to lack of maintenance. The DNR teamed up with MSU to do a series of studies, looking at the trail system the users, where the system was and where everyone wanted it to be. The trails needed work, but partially because the work wasn't done the ORV fund had a big fat surplus in the bank. So the legislature directed DNR to establish 750 miles of new trails, and to pick up the tempo on maintenance. The trail permit fees were not increased but spending started to climb. In 2008 the DNR put together a group of users and various DNR staff to look at the financial plan for the system. As I mentioned above, I participated in that work group - when we put all of our needs, wants and desires in the bucket and let the DNR money guys chew on it, the first answer was a $42 user fee per year - that wasn't going to work. Over a period of several meetings and 6-8 months we revised it down to about $30-32 or so as our recommendation. The trouble was the DNR had no control over the user fees - has to come from legislation. Over the next few years, this just kept getting kicked down the road. There have been several different versions of the current bill, including one that would have put a SOS fee for ATV/MX users in the mix - I have not asked our Land Use Committee Chairman on this newest legislation, but my assumption is the $10 will be for vehicles not already licensed by SOS - but it is not clear from the press release quoted above, so I might be wrong.

The DNR has done a lot of awareness work and applying gentle pressure to the grant holders to get them to do their jobs. We have also seen a lot of examples where groups like ATV Offroad have been able to identify poorly maintained sections of trail and work with the DNR to assum responsibility for the trails to bring them up to standards. So on a personal level I feel that the trails are being maintained better and that should continue as we go forward. We also have received a lot (but not yet all ) of the recently mandated trails, and there are still more coming - I have never added up the miles but GLFWDA is waiting for approval for a series of additions to the St Helen trail system that would connect a lot of the disconnected section of ORV route, making the system more SxS friendly and hopefully making it easier for 4x4 groups to get event permits in the future. Bot SnoFari and Sno Blind are held there each year. We also included a recently closed section of forest road (Pinball Alley) in hopes of being able to use ORV grant dollars to get it reopened.

The ORV grant money also helped build the rocks at the Mounds, built the rocks at St Helen and hopefully will fund the new "special maintenance grant" GLFWDA and Tri City Trailriders submitted to maintain the St Helen rocks.

phittie1100 05-14-2013 10:53 AM

I stand corrected - Rob (GLFWDA Land Use Committee Chairman) was at the ORVAW meeting and was hoping they would get the wording redone before making it public, but we need to read that proposal as $35 for a 4x4. You cannot purchase the two parts separately, and you need the additional $10 to access areas that we currently need an ORV trail permit for, like Silver Lake, St Helen MSA, etc.

bobjp 05-14-2013 11:23 AM


Originally Posted by phittie1100 (Post 15432046)
I stand corrected - Rob (GLFWDA Land Use Committee Chairman) was at the ORVAW meeting and was hoping they would get the wording redone before making it public, but we need to read that proposal as $35 for a 4x4. You cannot purchase the two parts separately, and you need the additional $10 to access areas that we currently need an ORV trail permit for, like Silver Lake, St Helen MSA, etc.

:rofl:WTF? So the $26.25 basically buys you...nothing? Sure this wording wasn't just a convenient way to get the proposal passed?

Sorry, this I can not appreciate. Perhaps we need to look at what the money is being spent on and decide whether or not it's worth it.

phittie1100 05-15-2013 11:27 AM

Don't get me wrong - I am not going to try and convince you of the value of your ORV permit. But before you rush to judgement, do some poking around on the DNR website. You can find the ORV trail maintenance handbook to see what the grant sponsors are doing with your ORV permit dollars (50% goes to maintenance) and a full list of the 2012-2013 grants is available at Law enforcement (31.25%) and damage restoration (12.5%) are also paid from the ORV fund, and the balance of the pie goes to administration and education.

bobjp 05-15-2013 08:22 PM

Most of the trail improvements are going toward trails I can't even use my Jeep on. I should not be paying for motorcycle and ATV trails. And some of those grants are going to state parks such as Island Lake. Island Lake is in metro Detroit, and nobody goes off road anywhere near there. WTF?

Those grants only account for $950,000. Supposedly, there are about 200,000 stickers sold per year which would result in $3,250,000 in revenue at $16.25 each. At $36.25 each there would be $7,250,000 in revenue. That's a hell of a lot of money!

Simply put, I am not getting the value of my money from the DNR.

Jason 05-15-2013 09:25 PM

Motorcycles and ATVs buy the same tag we do for the Jeeps and full-size vehicles. I don't know what percentage of sales are motorcycles vs. ATVs vs. SxS vs. full size, but I'd gather that motorcycles and ATVs make up the bulk based on the number of each I see on the trails compared to full size. Since distributors don't ask when you purchase, I don't suppose that the DNR knows either.

I think that if the money collected was separated for full-size vs. others, and only spent on the trails for which it was collected, I think we (full-size crowd) would end up with less.

It is interesting that ~$1 million is listed in the grants. I assume the remainder of the 50% of the total is spent on other maintenance activities?

The shock of that increase is why I started this thread. If we are maintaining the existing trails with ~$3.3 million, a 125% increase should result in a substantial increase in off-roading opportunities. In my eyes, 400 additional proposed miles isn't substantial enough to justify that increase. Much like any government fee or tax, the benefits described are far too vague to support such an increase.

bobjp 05-16-2013 05:33 AM

It would be interesting to know the number of stickers that go on full size vehicles and the number on ATV's, but it is evident that we are paying for ATV trails. Full size vehicles have a couple hundred miles of trails and some scramble areas while ATV's have thousands of miles of trails, and they can ride everywhere that a full size can. We would not end up with less because we're paying more per mile and acre as it is.

It is out of proportion. Either I get more trails, or I pay less.

Rubicon0311 05-16-2013 12:12 PM

I don't think there is a way to determine what you bought an ORV sticker for, I know when I have purchased one, I was never asked what the tag was going onto.

Mud Machine 05-17-2013 11:46 AM

Hey Phittie1100 I just want to say thank you for all your efforts in trying to find a solution for this problem. It is people like you that step up to the plate for the benefit of all that really make the difference. :thumbsup:

Alboy79 05-17-2013 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by Mud Machine (Post 15445750)
Hey Phittie1100 I just want to say thank you for all your efforts in trying to find a solution for this problem. It is people like you that step up to the plate for the benefit of all that really make the difference. :thumbsup:


98% of the people will just piss and moan about it, while 2% actually step up and try to make a difference. Thanks for being in the 2% Paul. :thumbsup:

phittie1100 05-20-2013 01:18 PM

Actually, no thanks is required - I do this stuff because I get a feeling of accomplishment when we get something useful approved or a project completed.

It's contagious too - my son is now 13, and as we are out and about he is quick to point out the section of trail we helped SoFO build near St Helen a few years ago, the stop ahead sign on the Atlanta system that we have repaired every year since 2007 that was still standing this weekend when we were there, and hopefully next summer we can stand in the middle of Pinball Alley and do a little :banana: when we get it reopened.

All I need to do is figure out how to bottle it so I can ship it to everyone else. :cheers:

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