The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) retained the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) as a set-aside of Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds. MAP-21 did not change the provisions or requirements for the RTP in 23 U.S.C. 206; therefore, RTP provisions and requirements remain in effect for the RTP set-aside funds, including the Federal share and flexible match and donation provisions available under 23 U.S.C. 206(f) and 23 U.S.C. 206(h). These provisions also remain in effect for prior year RTP funds. Note that recreational trail projects funded from other TAP funds (not from the RTP set-aside) are subject to the match requirement for TAP funds. See the TAP Guidance for more information.
The Federal/Matching share provisions below apply to RTP apportioned funds obligated after August 10, 2005, including funds apportioned prior to FY 2005. The provisions below do not apply to projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005: projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005, must follow the statutory Federal share in effect at that time. A State cannot deobligate and reobligate projects to change the Federal share. The provisions below also do not apply to funds allocated in FY 1993, 1996, or 1997. See footnote.
Note that States may choose to require a higher non-Federal share.
RTP Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 206:
The Federal share under the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a maximum. States may require a larger matching share, and States or project sponsors may provide a greater non-Federal share resulting in a lower Federal share.
Federal Share under the RTP: The Federal share for trail projects, trail-related educational programs, and State administrative costs may use the sliding scale provision of 23 U.S.C. 120(b). This is the same Federal share used for major Federal-aid highway programs. In most States this is 80 percent, but it is higher in States with higher percentages of Federal lands. See Sliding Scale Rates In Public Land States. However, a State may require a larger non-Federal share at its option.
Federal Agency Project Sponsor: A Federal agency project sponsor may provide its own funds toward RTP projects as additional Federal share up to 95 percent of the project cost. The limitation is intended to ensure commitment to the project from State, local, or private co-sponsors. Under this provision, a Federal agency project sponsor may provide any amount of funds, provided the total Federal share does not exceed 95 percent.
Examples of other Federal programs which may be used to match RTP funds include:
Indian tribal funds may be used as non Federal match for the purposes of this program regardless of the source of the funds. This may include Federal lands highway funds.
RTP Funds May Match Other Federal Funds. RTP funds may be used to match other Federal program funds. For example, Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds may be used to match RTP funds, and RTP funds may be used to match TE funds.
Programmatic Non-Federal Share: The programmatic non-Federal share provides States with more flexibility to select projects. For example, Sponsor A and Sponsor B may each propose $10,000 projects. Sponsor A may offer to provide $2,500 (25 percent) of the project cost while Sponsor B may have only $1,500 (15 percent) available. The State, at its option, may determine that the excess match from Sponsor A may account for the insufficient match from Sponsor B, and fund both projects as if both met the 20 percent match requirement.
Projects using either the Federal Agency Project Sponsor provision, or the Funds from Federal Programs provision, or both, may not be included in a State's calculation of the programmatic non-Federal share.
See Matching Provisions for information on allowable matching shares.
See Donations of Funds, Materials, Services, or New Right-of-Way and Value of Private Donations for information on using donations toward the non-Federal matching share, including the provision preapproval planning and environmental compliance costs to be credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of a project.
The non-Federal matching share is a minimum requirement. Any project sponsor may provide a larger non-Federal share. A State may choose to require a larger non-Federal matching share from project sponsors.
States may choose to provide the non-Federal share of projects from State funds, such as providing matching funds for motorized projects from a State motorized trail fund, or providing matching funds from another State trail program fund.
Each State should work with its State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee to establish policies for providing matching shares.
The Common Rule regulations, 49 CFR parts 18 and 19, are the best resources for answering financial administration questions.
RTP Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 206:
This section provides that any project sponsor (except for Federal agencies), whether a private individual or organization, or a public agency, may donate funds, materials, services (including volunteer labor), or new right-of-way to be credited to the non-Federal share of an RTP project.
Federal project sponsors may provide funds, materials, or services as part of the Federal share, but may not provide new right-of-way.
New right-of-way means the value of land lawfully acquired for the purpose of the recreational trail project. It does not include the value of land already under owned or managed by an agency or organization. For example:
If a town government (land trust, State park, etc.) lawfully purchases new land to construct a trail or trail facility or to protect a trail corridor, the value of the purchase may be credited to the non-Federal share.
The town (land trust, State park, etc.) may not use the value of land within a previously established town park (land trust, State park, etc.) as credit to the non-Federal share.
The town may not use the value of land transferred from the control of one town agency to another as credit to the non-Federal share (such as a transfer from a town development authority to a town park authority); a transfer of control from one municipal authority to another does not constitute purchase of new right-of-way.
Section 206(h)(1)(A) does not establish a time limit for new right-of-way, but §206(h)(1)(C) establishes an 18 month time limit for preapproval planning and environmental assessment costs to be credited toward a donation. This is an appropriate limit for new right-of-way:
The purpose of the land purchase must have been specifically for a trail project.
The land must have been purchased from a willing seller, with no threat of condemnation.
The purchase must have followed all Federal requirements in the Uniform Act.
The current fair market value or the actual cost of the right-of-way may be used for a match, but the associated costs in the acquisition are not eligible.
Section 206(h)(1)(C) allows preapproval project planning and environmental compliance costs to be credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of a project, limited to costs incurred less than 18 months prior to project approval. The costs incurred must be costs that would be allowable if the project had been approved (see Allowable Costs). This provision helps project sponsors cover significant up-front costs incurred prior to project approval. The 18 month limit is intended to assure that planning and environmental documentation are still valid. The limit also encourages timely project approval.
"Double counting" is not permitted: a cost incurred by a State or other project sponsor on a previous project that already has been paid cannot be used as a donation for a new RTP project. Further, a donation toward a project for one Federal program cannot be double counted for another Federal program; for example, if the value of land was used to match a Land and Water Conservation Fund project, the project sponsor cannot also use the same value of the same land toward an RTP project.
Value of Private Donations: To verify how to value donated services by private people to a governmental unit, see OMB Circular A-87, Attachment B, item 11(i). To verify how to value donated services by private people to a private project sponsor, see OMB Circular A-122, Attachment B, item 12.
See also: FHWA Order 6640.1A: FHWA Policy on Permissible Project Related Activities During the NEPA Process. This Order clarifies the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) policy regarding the permissible project-related activities that may be advanced prior to the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. [Added October 8, 2010]
National Recreational Trails Fund Act (1991): the Federal share was 100%. This applied to FY 1993 funds.
National Highway System Designation Act of 1995: the Federal share changed to 50%. Funds from another Federal agency are Federal funds and cannot count toward the non-Federal share. This provision applies to funds allocated in FY 1996 and 1997, and to FY 1993 funds obligated after November 28, 1995.
TEA-21 (1998): the Federal share changed to 80%, Federal agency project sponsors could use Federal funds toward the non-Federal share, other Federal funds could match RTP funds, States could allow programmatic non-Federal shares, and State administrative funds used 23 U.S.C. 120(b). The TEA-21 provisions apply to FY 1998 to 2005 apportionments obligated between June 9, 1998 and August 9, 2005.
SAFETEA-LU (2005): the Federal share changed to allow all projects using apportioned funds to use 23 U.S.C. 120(b) (80% plus sliding scale) and to allow RTP funds to match other Federal program funds.
MAP-21 (2012): MAP-21 did not change the provisions or requirements for the RTP in 23 U.S.C. 206; therefore, RTP provisions and requirements remain in effect for the RTP set-aside funds.