Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

2009 State Trail Administrators Meeting

Recreational Trails Program Ideas to Consider for Authorization (Draft September 2009)

The following ideas are presented for consideration in discussions about surface transportation authorization legislation.

  1. State Trail Administrators and FHWA division offices agree that RTP projects should be exempt from the metropolitan and statewide transportation planning and programming processes (inclusion in transportation plans and in the TIP and STIP). The STIP and TIP processes are designed for major transportation projects. Recreational trail projects usually are administered through a State resource agency, not the State DOT, and do not directly impact transportation. For the RTP, the TIP and STIP processes have been described as "bureaucratic, time-consuming exercises with no public benefit", adding from months to more than a year for project implementation. The USDOT proposed eliminating this requirement in its 2003 SAFETEA Section 1606 proposal.

  2. Delete 23 U.S.C. 206(f)(2)(B) in the Federal share, to keep at least the same flexibility that the RTP has at present, but allow flexibility available to the rest of the Federal-aid highway program under §120(k) and (l). To be deleted: "B. the share attributable to the Secretary and the Federal agency sponsoring the project may not exceed 95 percent of the cost of a project under this section."

  3. Clarify permissible donations in 23 U.S.C. 206(h)(1)(C), to specify the timeframe for right-of-way donated prior to project approval. New proposed text:
    1. PLANNING, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND RIGHT-OF-WAY COSTS INCURRED PRIOR TO PROJECT AUTHORIZATION.--The Secretary may allow preapproval planning, environmental assessment, and right-of-way costs to be credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of a project described in subsection (d)(2) (other than subparagraph (H)) in accordance with subsection (f), limited to costs incurred less than 18 months prior to project authorization.
  1. Raise the Education cap to 10% (an optional maximum, but no required minimum).

  2. Permit RTP projects to incorporate workforce development, training, and education (as defined in 23 U.S.C. 504(e)) within the RTP projects.

  3. Enhance the ability for States to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with youth service or conservation corps to perform RTP (and other Federal-aid) projects, to help State and local transportation and recreation agencies with workforce development and training. Note: See Conservation Corps and Transportation: Making the Connection.
    • Codify the Youth Corps encouragement language from TEA-21 §1112(e) and SAFETEA-LU §1109(f) into 23 U.S.C. 206 (or, combined with TEA-21 §1108(g), elsewhere in Title 23).
    • A higher Federal share for projects using youth corps.
    • Allow States to count agreements with youth service and conservation corps toward their Disadvantaged Business Enterprises goals.
    • Specifically incorporate youth corps into 23 U.S.C. 113(c) (HTML / PDF).
  1. Facilitate using volunteers on RTP projects with incentives or exceptions.

  2. Obtain a one-time extra appropriation ($2.5 million, according to an estimate from FHWA's Statistics Office) to determine the actual amount of nonhighway recreational fuel use nationwide, with enough confidence to apportion funds among the States.

  3. Consider a higher FHWA administrative takedown. Specify that the Federal share for FHWA's RTP Administrative funds is 100 percent (it is not specified now).

The following items do not require new legislation.

  1. The State agency responsible for the RTP should be required to have:
Updated: 10/10/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000