Bennet, Udall Applaud Passage of Funding for PILT, SRS Programs

Provisions Included in Transportation Bill

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today applauded the approval of continued funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program and  Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS).  Both were included in the transportation bill conference report that passed the Senate and the House and now goes to the President to be signed into law.

“As rural communities across the state face tightening budgets and potentially drastic cuts, this will provide them with a measure of relief and certainty over the next year.” Bennet said. “The PILT and SRS programs have been lifelines for financially strapped rural counties and local businesses. This bipartisan agreement will ensure that we continue to make smart investments in our rural communities.”

“The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program help Colorado’s rural communities maintain critical jobs and provide rural areas with services that we count on to maintain our public safety and quality of life,” Udall said. “I am pleased that these provisions were included in the bipartisan compromise. Although this one-year extension is welcome news, Colorado communities need a long-term reauthorization.”

Payment-In-Lieu of Taxes: The conference report extends full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program by one year, through fiscal year 2013. The program provides federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal land within their boundaries.  Communities can use PILT resources for critical services, such as police, fire protection and emergency response programs.  Rural Colorado communities shared more than $27 million in both fiscal years 2012 and 2011.

Secure Rural Schools: The conference report extends SRS by one year, through fiscal year 2013. The program provides resources for public schools, road improvement and maintenance projects, and forest restoration and improvement projects in and around National Forests. The conference report clarifies that funds for eligible Title III projects under the program must be obligated by the end of the following fiscal year but not necessarily initiated.

Bennet and Udall have led the fight in support of PILT and SRS. In May, Bennet and Udall sent a letter to the conference committee urging its members to include full funding for the programs in the final transportation bill.