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Recreational Trails Program Federal Share and Matching Provisions

Updated October 8, 2013

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.

Federal Share and Matching Share

RTP Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 206:

  1. FEDERAL SHARE.--
    1. IN GENERAL.--Subject to the other provisions of this subsection, the Federal share of the cost of a project and the Federal share of the administrative costs of a State under this section shall be determined in accordance with section 120(b).
    2. FEDERAL AGENCY PROJECT SPONSOR.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a Federal agency that sponsors a project under this section may contribute additional Federal funds toward the cost of a project, except that--
      1. the share attributable to the Secretary of Transportation may not exceed the amount determined in accordance with section 120(b) for the cost of a project under this section; and
      2. 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. USE OF FUNDS FROM FEDERAL PROGRAMS TO PROVIDE NON FEDERAL SHARE.-- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the non Federal share of the cost of the project may include amounts made available by the Federal Government under any Federal program that are--
      1. expended in accordance with the requirements of the Federal program relating to activities funded and populations served; and
      2. expended on a project that is eligible for assistance under this section.
    4. USE OF RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM FUNDS TO MATCH OTHER FEDERAL PROGRAM FUNDS.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds made available under this section may be used toward the non-Federal matching share for other Federal program funds that are--
      1. expended in accordance with the requirements of the Federal program relating to activities funded and populations served; and
      2. expended on a project that is eligible for assistance under this section.
    5. PROGRAMMATIC NON FEDERAL SHARE.--A State may allow adjustments to the non-Federal share of an individual project for a fiscal year under this section if the Federal share of the cost of all projects carried out by the State under the program (excluding projects funded under paragraph (2) or (3)) using funds apportioned to the State for the fiscal year does not exceed the Federal share as determined in accordance with section 120(b).

General Federal / Matching Share

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Funds from Federal Programs: RTP funds may be matched with funds available under other Federal funding programs, if the project also is eligible for funding under the other Federal program. Federal funds received by any project sponsor from another Federal program may be credited as if they were the non-Federal share, and may be used to match RTP project funds up to 100 percent of the project cost. However:
    • Funds from Federal agency project sponsors must be credited as additional Federal share (paragraph 2 above), not as part of the non-Federal share.
    • Other Federal program funds may require a non-Federal share. For example, a $10,000 RTP project may use $8,000 in RTP funds and be matched by $2,000 in Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds, but the TE funds are limited to an 80 percent Federal share, or $1,600. The sponsor would have to provide a $400 match from non-Federal sources.

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Non-Federal Matching Share

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.

Matching Provisions

The Common Rule regulations, 49 CFR parts 18 and 19, are the best resources for answering financial administration questions.

Donations of Funds, Materials, Services, or New Right-of-Way

RTP Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 206:

  1. PROJECT ADMINISTRATION.--
    1. CREDIT FOR DONATIONS OF FUNDS, MATERIALS, SERVICES, OR NEW RIGHT-OF-WAY.--
      1. IN GENERAL.--Nothing in this title or other law shall prevent a project sponsor from offering to donate funds, materials, services, or a new right of way for the purposes of a project eligible for assistance under this section. Any funds, or the fair market value of any materials, services, or new right of way, may be donated by any project sponsor and shall be credited to the non Federal share in accordance with subsection (f).
      2. Federal project sponsors.--Any funds or the fair market value of any materials or services may be provided by a Federal project sponsor and shall be credited to the Federal agency's share in accordance with subsection (f).
      3. PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT COSTS INCURRED PRIOR TO PROJECT APPROVAL.--The Secretary may allow preapproval planning and environmental compliance 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 approval.

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:

However:

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:

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]


Footnote:

The Federal share for the RTP has changed several times:

Updated: 02/12/2014
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