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Recreational Trails Program Guidance (1999)

Part 2

Project Eligibility and Requirements

Planning Requirements

The RTP is codified under Chapter 2 of title 23 U.S.C.[19] Therefore, the metropolitan and statewide transportation planning requirements apply to the RTP. RTP projects must be consistent with statewide and applicable metropolitan long-range transportation plans. RTP projects must be included within the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and applicable Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (metropolitan TIPs). (See Submittal to Transportation Agencies).

Coordination with transportation agencies is recommended:

Section 206(d) requires the State to have a recreational trail plan. Each State is responsible for developing its own plans, laws, policies, and administrative procedures to administer the RTP, as long as the intent of the RTP is met. Under the original program, RTP projects were to be identified in, or further a specific goal of, a trail plan included or referenced in a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (LWCF). However, because of the lack of funds available to the States under the LWCF in recent years, many States allowed their SCORPs to lapse. The explanatory report included with TEA-21 notes: A Due to a lack of funding over the past several years, some States may not have updated SCORPs in effect; so the requirement that projects be included in a SCORP would apply only to those States that have a current updated SCORP in effect. If the SCORP is no longer in effect, then the project only needs to be identified in or further a specific goal of a State recreational trail plan. Either way, States need to have a State trail policy plan. Projects selected must also be incorporated into State and metropolitan transportation improvement programs.

Submittal to Transportation Agencies

The legislation in 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135 requires FHWA-funded projects to be included in the STIP and applicable TIPs; this includes RTP projects. In States where an agency other than the State DOT administers the RTP, the administering agency must forward the list of RTP projects approved for funding to the State DOT for incorporation into the STIP, and to applicable MPOs for incorporation into their TIPs. The State DOT and the MPOs would be expected to accept the list of approved RTP projects without modifications. In States where the State DOT administers the RTP, the DOT must inform applicable MPOs of approved RTP projects within their jurisdiction for incorporation into their TIPs.

Unless the RTP projects are determined to be regionally significant, they may be grouped and submitted as one line item to the State DOT for incorporation into the STIP, and to applicable MPOs for incorporation into their TIPs. If an RTP project is determined to be regionally significant, it must be listed individually within the STIP and any applicable TIP.

Other Planning Considerations

The RTP provides States with an incentive to develop State trail plans. States are encouraged to consider various partnerships for recreational trail opportunities. For example, RTP funds may help:

Planning Costs

Statewide trail planning is an eligible cost under State administrative costs. Otherwise, trail planning is not listed among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. A project proposal solely for the purpose of trail planning would not be eligible for funding under permissible use categories A, B, C, D, E, or G (as listed and described on Permissible Uses). However, if trail planning is a relatively small portion of an overall trail project, it may be allowed.

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Permissible Uses

Eligible Project Categories

A State may use up to 7 percent of its RTP apportionment each fiscal year to pay costs to the State incurred in the administration of the RTP program (see below for details). A State may use up to 5 percent of its RTP apportionment each fiscal year for the operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental programs (see below for details). A State must use not less than 88 percent of its RTP apportionment each fiscal year for trail projects that qualify under subparagraphs A through E. For the purpose of calculating the 40-30-30 requirements, a State must consider projects funded under subparagraphs A, B, C, D, E, and G (but not F).[20] If a State uses less than 7 percent for administrative costs or less than 5 percent for educational costs, the funds must be used for trail projects.

Category A, maintenance and restoration of existing trails, may be interpreted broadly to include any kind of trail maintenance, restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation. This category may include maintenance and restoration of trail bridges, or providing appropriate signage along a trail. See Environmental Mitigation or Benefit and guidance on Environmental Requirements.

Category B, development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails, may be interpreted broadly to include development or rehabilitation of any trailside and trailhead facility.[21] The definition of rehabilitation means extensive repair needed to bring a facility up to standards suitable for public use (not routine maintenance). Trailside and trailhead facilities should have a direct relationship with a recreational trail; a highway rest area or visitor center is not an appropriate use of RTP funds. If a State has difficulty deciding about the eligibility of a particular trailside or trailhead facility, it should work with its State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee.

Category C, purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment, includes purchase and lease of any trail construction and maintenance equipment, including lawn mowers and trail grooming machines, provided the equipment is used primarily to construct and maintain recreational trails. This provision does not include purchase of equipment to be used for purposes unrelated to trails. For example, a lawn mower purchased under this program must be used primarily for trail and trailside maintenance, not to maintain open lawn areas or sport fields.

Category D, construction of new recreational trails, is self-explanatory for projects not located on Federal land. For projects on Federal land, the most important requirement is that the Federal agency land manager must approve of the project in accordance with other applicable Federal laws and regulations. This category may include construction of new trail bridges, or providing appropriate signage along a trail.

Category E, acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property, is self-explanatory. This category may include acquisition of old road or railroad bridges to be used as recreational trail bridges. However, §206(g)(1) prohibits condemnation of any kind of interest in property. Therefore, acquisition of any kind of interest in property must be from a willing landowner or seller.

The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 applies to the RTP. Implementation regulations are found in 49 CFR Part 24. See Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.

State Administrative Costs

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

A State may use up to 7 percent of its apportionment each fiscal year to pay costs to the State incurred in the administration of this program. This figure is 7 percent of the State's apportionment rounded down to the nearest dollar. If the State's costs incurred in administering this program are less than 7 percent of the State's apportionment, then the State's administrative costs are limited to actual costs. The 7 percent figure is the maximum amount allowable; States may use less than this amount (or none), and use the funds for trail projects.

Allowable administrative costs include items such as:

State administrative costs are exempt from the 40-30-30 suballocation requirements; the 40-30-30 shares are calculated after the State deducts its administrative costs. However, if a State chooses to use its administrative funds in this manner (or, for example use part of the administrative funds to administer a motorized program and part to administer a nonmotorized program), it may do so.

The Federal share of the State administrative costs shall be determined in accordance with 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 significant percentages of Federal lands.

Statewide Trail Planning

State administrative costs may include statewide trail planning related to the RTP. The RTP requires States to have a recreational trail plan, and RTP projects must be included in transportation STIPs and TIPs (as described under Planning Requirements). RTP projects must be identified in, or further a specific goal of, a trail plan included or referenced in a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (LWCF). However, because of the lack of funding under LWCF over the past several years, many States have allowed their SCORPs to lapse. Because the RTP requires a State trail plan, it is reasonable to allow a State's RTP administrative funds to be used toward the cost of developing and updating a statewide trail plan.

Educational Projects

Category G, operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection, permits a State to use up to 5 percent of its apportionment each fiscal year for the operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as those objectives relate to the use of recreational trails. This figure is 5 percent of the apportionment rounded down to the nearest dollar. This is the maximum allowable a State may use less than this amount.

Educational projects are subject to the same Federal share and matching share requirements as trail projects in categories A through E.

Educational projects are counted within the overall 40-30-30 requirement. This does not mean educational funds need to be 40-30-30. For example:

Typical education projects may include:

Other Eligibility Considerations / Possible Project Priorities

Accessibility

States are encouraged to consider giving extra project evaluation credit to proposals which provide enhanced recreational access for people with disabilities. See Accessibility.

Eligibility to Use Other Federal Highway Funds

Many trails provide both a recreational purpose and transportation purpose. RTP funds may be used on any trail which provides a recreational purpose. Using RTP funds on a trail project does not designate a trail as purely recreational, nor does it make the trail ineligible for other Federal highway funds. If a trail provides a transportation purpose, it may use other Federal highway funds, regardless of whether or not RTP funds also are used on the trail. In addition, RTP projects may use funds from other Federal highway funding categories as matching funds as noted on General Federal/Matching Share.

Environmental Mitigation or Benefit

Section 206(e) requires a State to consider projects which benefit the natural environment. This provision is an opportunity for States to consider innovative project proposals to make environmental improvements to existing trail facilities. See Environmental Requirements.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is not among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. However, there may be options to assist with trail-related law enforcement. For example:

Millennium Trails Program

The Millennium Trails Program is an initiative of the White House Millennium Council in partnership with the USDOT that will recognize, promote, and stimulate the creation to trails to honor the past and imagine the future as part of America's legacy for the year 2000. For further information, go to www.traillink.com. States are encouraged to consider giving extra project evaluation credit to projects which receive Millennium Trails recognition.

Minimum Timeframe for Public Use

The RTP legislation does not require a minimum timeframe for a trail project to remain open to the public. Each State should establish a minimum timeframe appropriate for the type of trail use. For example:

National Recreation Trails

In consultation with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture through the Federal Interagency Council on Trails, States are encouraged to give extra project evaluation credit to projects on National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails (provided the project provides a recreational purpose), and trails designated as National Recreation Trails. See more information on National Recreation Trails at www.nps.gov/nrt/

Water Trails

The definition of recreational trail in the RTP legislation includes aquatic or water activities. Therefore, water trails are eligible for funding. Canoe, kayak, or rowboat trails may count toward a State's 30 percent nonmotorized requirement. Motorboat or personal water craft trails may count toward a State's 30 percent motorized requirement. However, water trails and related facilities (such as boat launches and aquatic resource education programs) are eligible under the Wallop-Breaux aquatic resources program administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Wallop-Breaux Trust Fund receives its funding in part based on an estimate of motorboat fuel use. The RTP funding originally was intended to be attributable to fuel use by snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles, ATVs, and light trucks. States should consider the most appropriate funding source for water trails and related projects and for land trails and related projects.

Youth Conservation or Service Corps

States are encouraged to consider giving extra project evaluation credit to projects and project sponsors which incorporate qualified youth conservation or service corps.

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Uses Not Permitted (Projects Not Eligible)

Other Uses Not Permitted

FHWA has determined that the following kinds of projects are inconsistent with the RTP legislation:

Condemned Land as Matching Value

The RTP legislation prohibits using RTP funds for condemnation of any kind of interest in property. An RTP project may be located on land condemned with funds from other sources. However, to be consistent with the RTP legislation, it is not permissible to use the value of condemned land toward the match requirement for an RTP project.

Feasibility Studies

Trail feasibility studies are not among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. The permissible uses relate to actual on-the-ground trail projects. Therefore, a project proposal for the purpose of performing a trail feasibility study would not be eligible.

Law Enforcement

Routine law enforcement is not among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. However, options for trail-related law enforcement are listed under Permissible Uses.

Planning

Trail planning is not listed among the permissible uses in the RTP legislation. Therefore, a project proposal solely for the purpose of trail planning would not be eligible for funding under permissible use categories A, B, C, D, E, or G. However, if trail planning is a relatively small portion of an overall trail project, it may be allowed. See Other Issues, Construction Engineering Costs and Planning Costs. Statewide trail planning is described under Category F.

Railroads

To maintain consistency with the USDOT railroad safety policy, RTP projects should not be approved on railroad rights-of-way on which the railroad tracks are in place, if trail users will traverse on or between the railroad tracks, except for providing a railroad crossing in coordination with the railroad owner, operator, and State agency with jurisdiction over railroads. RTP projects may be located within or along railroad rights-of-way if trail users will not traverse on or between railroad tracks and if adequate safety measures are implemented in coordination with the railroad owner, operator, and State agency with jurisdiction over railroads.

Roads

The RTP is intended to provide funds for recreational trail-related projects. Therefore, RTP funds may not be used for improvements to roads and/or bridges intended to be generally accessible by low clearance passenger vehicles (regular passenger cars), unless those roads/bridges are specifically designated for recreational trail use by the managing agency. RTP funds may be used on high clearance primitive roads (generally not accessible by regular passenger cars, but accessible with higher clearance light trucks, such as high clearance sports utility vehicles), and for bridges on high clearance primitive roads. Eligible high clearance primitive roads/bridges may include old county, town, or township rights-of-way no longer maintained for general passenger vehicle traffic, provided the project does not open the road to general passenger vehicle traffic.

Sidewalks

RTP funds should not be used to provide paths or sidewalks along or adjacent to public roads or streets, unless:

Wilderness Areas

Federally-designated Wilderness areas are subject to the restrictions of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131).

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Project Sponsors

Who May Sponsor a Project

The RTP is intended to be a program through which States provide grants to trail project sponsors.

States may provide grants to organizations and agencies such as:

States may provide grants to partnerships of public and private organizations, such as municipal or State agencies working with youth conservation or service corps, or trail clubs working with youth conservation or service corps. States should provide RTP program and application information to youth conservation or service corps organizations within their State.

States should provide RTP program and application information to each Indian tribal government within their State.

Federal Agency Partnerships

Federal agencies are helpful partners in developing trail projects. As well as being potential project sponsors, Federal agencies have technical expertise to facilitate the development of trail projects.

The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), administered by the National Park Service (NPS), works cooperatively with State, regional, and local nonprofit groups, organizations, and public agencies to assist in establishing and developing trails, greenways, and other recreation and conservation resources.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages multiple-use trail systems to provide resource-dependent recreation opportunities primarily in 12 western States, and may provide technical assistance in other States. BLM's goal is to provide trails for all Americans, including people with disabilities, that meet the needs of visitors to public lands.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) manages 214,000 km (133,000 miles) of trails, many of which provide multiple-use trail opportunities. The USFS also performs extensive research and technology development with regard to trail construction and maintenance. FHWA is working with the USFS to further some of this research and provide some of this information to the public.

Other Federal agencies may be partners in developing RTP projects, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Department of Defense military bases.

Youth Conservation or Service Corps

TEA-21 requires the USDOT to encourage the use of youth conservation or service corps.

The definition of a qualified youth conservation or service corps is taken from existing titles and chapters of the United States Code (U.S.C.). See Definitions.

States are encouraged to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with qualified youth conservation and service corps because corps can help the States and project sponsors with their trail construction and maintenance programs and projects. [23]

States and project sponsors may:

Other benefits of working with corps include:

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Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Signage Criteria

Design Guidance

States should adopt their own standards for design, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of trails. Federal land management agencies will use their own standards. FHWA division offices should encourage the State agency to coordinate standards and guidelines with the State DOT, and with Federal land management agencies. See Manuals and Guides for Trail Design Construction, Maintenance, and Signage for suggested manuals and guides, along with their sources, and sources for technical assistance.

For trails serving various user groups, the trail manager and the State agency responsible for administering the RTP should determine the appropriate design guides, provided the guides meet minimum standards for the intended user groups.

Signage

Signs which function as traffic control devices must conform with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Part IX of the MUTCD, Traffic Controls for Bicycle Facilities, covers the bicycle related signs, pavement markings, and signals which may be used on highways or bikeways. Part 9 is for bicycle facilities, and is suitable for shared use paths (nonmotorized multiple-use trails which may provide a transportation purpose).[24] The publication Standard Highway Signs has the detailed drawings for the highway signs prescribed in the MUTCD.[25] These documents are available for purchase from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402 or at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/.

Signs which do not function as traffic control devices are not subject to the MUTCD. However, informational signs and kiosks must take into consideration the needs of various users, such as:

The International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA) has developed its own standards for snowmobile trails based on research from the US Forest Service. The primary difference from the MUTCD is an allowance for smaller sized signs.

Accessibility (Access for People with Disabilities)

NOTE: A Regulatory Negotiation Committee reported to the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) on September 15, 1999. The Committee developed Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for picnic and camping facilities, beach access routes, and trails. See www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/background/adaag.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is civil rights legislation which prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of disability. While specific technical standards have not yet been finalized for recreation facilities (including recreational trails), State and local government trail developers and operators nevertheless have statutory responsibilities to provide opportunities for the participation of people with disabilities in recreational trails funded under the RTP. Federal laws that affect the design, construction, alteration, and operation of trail facilities include the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Current regulations implementing these statutes contain requirements that apply to existing trail construction and program operations and adopt technical standards to guide new trail construction and alterations of existing networks:

Recreation guidelines are being developed by the Access Board. A Regulatory Negotiation Committee reported to the Access Board on September 15, 1999. These guidelines will provide technical criteria more specific to the design of new recreational trails and the alterations of existing systems. Until then, however, trail designers should follow the advice contained in the DOJ preamble to their title III regulation: To the extent that a particular type or element of a facility is not specifically addressed by the standards, the language of this section (that new and altered facilities should be "readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities" is the safest guide. The concept of program accessibility, established in regulations implementing the Rehabilitation Act and extended to State and local governments (irrespective of Federal funding) under title II of the ADA, should guide the operation of existing trails programs and facilities.

RTP projects are primarily recreational in nature, rather than serving a more utilitarian transportation function. States should consider the potential uses of each trail project, consider what is reasonable and feasible, and provide for users in an appropriate manner. It is not necessary to construct every recreational trail according to the ADA guidelines, but trail project sponsors must not install barriers or other features that would make it more difficult for people with disabilities to use the trail. States should make sure they maintain program accessibility. Failure to provide some kind of program of accessible recreational opportunities for people with disabilities may constitute discrimination.

Trail designers should seek opportunities to incorporate accessible features and elements, and to include trail routings that meet accessibility criteria to ensure that there are recreation opportunities for a variety of users within an overall recreational trails program. Where trail-related facilities, such as parking, shelters, toilets, drinking fountains, and other features are provided on or along an accessible trail site, they should provide the required level of accessibility and be served by an accessible route. Trail designers should account for people with disabilities that may arrive at trail facilities by horse, ATV, snowmobile, with assistance, or by other means.

Other facilities, including transportation facilities, also must be constructed, altered, and operated so as to be accessible to people with disabilities. Transportation and pedestrian linkages serving or intersecting accessible recreational trails should contain accessible elements, including curb ramps, sidewalks, and similar improvements.

Manuals and Guides for Trail Design Construction, Maintenance, and Signage

The following manuals and guidelines may provide information useful for trail design, construction, and maintenance. Copies may be purchased or acquired from the source indicated. U.S. Government regulations may be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop SSOP, Washington DC 20402-9328. Many of these documents are available on websites.

Federal Documents Relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG); available in USDOT regulations, 49 CFR Part 37. Also, an Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register, June 20, 1994 (59 FR 31676; 31745); from: U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board or see www.access-board.gov), 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20004-1111. The Interim Final Rule included Section 14, Public Rights of Way, which is now reserved (withdrawn).

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs and Activities Receiving or Benefitting from Federal Financial Assistance; available in USDOT regulations, (44 FR 31442). This implements Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) as amended, to the end that no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services; available in U.S. Department of Justice regulations, 28 CFR Part 35 (56 FR 35694). This implements subtitle A of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12131), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities.

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities, available in U.S. Department of Justice regulations, 28 CFR Part 36 (56 FR 35544). This implements title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12181), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and requires places of public accommodation and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, and altered in compliance with the accessibility standards established by this part.

Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, published in the Federal Register, August 7, 1984 (49 FR 31528); from the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20004-1111.

Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, Final Report, September 30, 1999, a report to the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, from: Access Board, Recreation Report, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20004-1111.

Accessible Public Rights-of-Way, U.S. Access Board (November 1999). This document provides guidance to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines on public rights-of-way, including sidewalks and shared use paths.

Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access: Part 1, Review of Existing Guidelines and Practices (HTML / PDF 30 MB), lays out the history and the practices of applying accessibility concepts to sidewalks and pedestrian trails. (Out of print, available online only).

Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access: Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide (HTML / PDF), provides recommendations on how to design sidewalks, street crossings, intersections, shared use paths, and recreational pedestrian trails. (Order here) See also Transmittal Memorandum, Detectable Warnings Memorandum (July 2004), Detectable Warnings Memorandum (May 2002), and Errata Sheet.

Transportation Trails

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 1999 (AASHTO Guide); $30.00, from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 444 North Capitol Street NW, Washington DC 20001, phone 202-624-5800, fax 202-624-5806, https://bookstore.transportation.org/. The AASHTO guide is recommended as minimum guidelines for the construction and design of bicycle facilities and shared use paths, but not for bicycle trails over rough terrain intended for use by mountain bikes.

Federal Land Management Agency Publications

(see http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/ for more publications)

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has developed a Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS), which provides a framework for satisfying and defining classes of outdoor recreation environments, activities, and experience opportunities. Contact a local USFS unit or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office for more information about ROS.

United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Standard Specifications for Construction of Trails, September 1996; from Forest Service - USDA, Engineering Staff - Washington Office, Attn: Publications Specialist, PO Box 2417, Washington DC 20013.

US Forest Service National Trail Drawings and Specifications - www.fs.fed.us/.ftproot/pub/acad/dev/trails/trails.htm.

US Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines - www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/accessibility.

United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Soil Stabilizer for Use on Universally Accessible Trails, October 1995; from San Dimas Technology & Development Center, San Dimas CA 91773.

United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Trails Management Handbook, revised November 1991; from Forest Service - USDA, Engineering Staff - Washington Office, Attn: Publications Specialist, PO Box 2417, Washington DC 20013.

United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook, August 2000; from Forest Service - USDA, Technology & Development Program, Building 1, Fort Missoula, Missoula MT 59804-7294. (Order Here)

United States Department of the Interior - Bureau of Land Management, BLM Handbook 9114-1 Trails; from the Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street NW, Washington DC 20240.

Private Sector Trail Publications

Several other sources may be useful for trail design, construction, and maintenance:

Universal Access to Outdoor Recreation: A Design Guide, MIG Communications, 1802 5th St, Berkeley CA 94710. This guide details how to increase access to the outdoors for people of varying abilities.

Ryan, Karen-Lee, Trails for the Twenty-First Century, 1993, The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 1100 17th St NW 10th Floor, Washington DC 20036; Phone 202-331-9696; Fax 202-331-9680. This manual provides guidelines for the construction and design of multiple-use trails, such as rail-to-trail conversions, other similar existing corridors, and heavily used bicycle routes.

Flink, Charles A and Robert M Searns; Loring LaB Schwarz, editor, Greenways, 1993, The Conservation Fund, Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20009.

Birkby, Robert C, Lightly on the Land, the SCA Trail Building and Maintenance Manual, The Mountaineers, 1001 SW Klickitat Way, Seattle WA 98134.

Proudman, Robert D and Reuben Rajala, AMC Field Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance, 2nd Edition, 1981; Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 5 Joy Street, Boston MA 02108.

Demrow, Carl and David Salisbury, The Complete Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance, 3rd Edition. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 5 Joy Street, Boston MA 02108.

Ski Industries America, Cross Country Close to Home: A Ski Area Development Manual; 1989, United Ski Industries Association, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean VA 22102.

Wernex, Joe, Off-Highway Motorcycle & ATV Trails: Guidelines for Design, Construction, Maintenance, and User Satisfaction, 2nd Edition; 1993, American Motorcyclist Association, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington OH 43147; Phone 614-856-1900; Fax 614-856-1920.

Traffic Control Devices

The following manuals shall be used for traffic control devices (signs, signals, and markings):

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402, or http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

Part 9 is for bicycle facilities, and is suitable for shared use paths. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003/part9/part9-toc.htm

United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Standard Highway Signs; from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402, http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/ser-shs_millennium.htm. This document provides detailed specifications for signs authorized in the MUTCD.

Trail Conflict

Conflicts on Multiple Use Trails, Federal Highway Administration, FHWA-PD-94-031, available from FHWA R&T Report Center, 9701 Philadelphia Court Unit Q, Lanham MD 20706. To order, send a fax to 301-577-1421. While not a design manual, this report provides information about the causes of trail conflict and offers possible methods toward solutions.

Disclaimers

The use of trade names and identification of firms, corporations, or sources is for the convenience of the reader; such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Government of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

The use of trade names and identification of firms, corporations, or sources does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the United States Government regarding liability for any claims, actions, demands, or suits which may arise by reason of any person relying on the information contained in their documents. Readers should note particular disclaimers in each publication.

The Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Agriculture/U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management/National Park Service, and other public agencies assume no responsibility for the interpretation or application of their respective manuals or guidelines by other than their own respective employees.

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Environmental Requirements

Program Environmental Requirements

Section (e) requires a State to consider projects which benefit the natural environment. This provision is an opportunity for States to consider innovative project proposals to make environmental improvements to existing trail facilities.

Under the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995, the State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee should have issued guidance to the State to implement this section. Although the advisory committee requirement does not appear in the current RTP, the State's advisory committee would be an appropriate forum to consider policies and project ideas related to this requirement.

Section (h)(2) exempts the RTP from the requirements of Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (23 U.S.C. 138; 49 U.S.C. 303). See Recreational Purpose for further details on this exemption.

General Environmental Requirements

Documentation of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other Federal environmental laws, regulations, and Executive Orders must be provided as part of an authorized project under the RTP. FHWA procedures in 23 CFR 771 apply to the RTP. Most RTP projects will qualify as Categorical Exclusions (CE) under NEPA (23 CFR 771.117). However, each project must be reviewed to assure that it does not have a significant impact on the environment.

States and FHWA divisions may agree on programmatic categorical exclusions in which FHWA pre-approves all projects meeting a pre-defined set of conditions that ensure that environmental impacts are not significant. (Sample Programmatic Agreement)

Air Quality

Many RTP projects and project-related activities are exempt from air quality conformity requirements of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. In general, exempt projects include:

Hazardous Wastes and Contaminated Properties

Contaminated sites may be encountered during the development of RTP projects. Abandoned railroad lines being converted into trails are of particular concern. Site assessments and appropriate steps for remediation may be necessary.

Historic and Archaeological Resources

Trail development projects should be coordinated with the State Historic Preservation Officer to determine the potential for effects on properties on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Noxious Weeds

States should consider whether or not an assessment of the spread of noxious weeds should be performed in conjunction with RTP projects.

Threatened and Endangered Species

The occurrence of a protected species could be an important issue to consider during the development of an RTP project. Trail location should be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and formal consultation pursued if the presence of protected species warrants further study.

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Land Ownership

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

Each agreement between a State and a private organization should specify the duties and responsibilities of the parties involved. There must be an easement filed of record which specifies the minimum length of time for the agreement to maximize the public investment in the project.

Although the RTP legislation does not require government agencies to provide written assurance of public access, States should consider whether written assurance is needed. For example, if a State provides funds for a project on public lands, the State should assure that the managing agency will assure public access to the project for the use originally intended.

See also Minimum Timeframe for Public Use.

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Public Involvement

There is no specific legislation requiring a public involvement process under the RTP, but States should consider appropriate methods to involve the public both in State procedures and in project development and selection. The State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee may assist in developing public involvement policies and programs.

Federal agencies are required to have public involvement in the development of their land management plans, and should involve the public in project proposals.

States should consider outreach to various trail enthusiast organizations within State as well as recreation business concerns and other interests which may be affected by recreational trail use.

Public involvement is required in the State and metropolitan transportation planning processes, including approval of STIPs and TIPs. Public involvement also is required in the development of Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (SCORPs).

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Other Issues Related to the RTP

Other Requirements

Buy America [Revised March 24, 2014]

Buy America requirements apply to all steel and iron permanently incorporated in a project funded under title 23 (and associated eligible contracts). See FHWA's Buy America Construction Program Guide.

Convict Labor

Federal law prohibits the use of convict labor for construction projects within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway (23 U.S.C. 114(b)). Under title 23, all public roads are Federal-aid highways, except those that are functionally classified as local roads or rural minor collectors.[26,27] Therefore, if an RTP project is within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, convict labor shall not be used. If an RTP project is not within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, then 23 U.S.C. 114(b) does not apply.

Unless the Recreational Trails Program project is within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, the State may use its State procedures with regard to convict labor. RTP funds may be used to pay for construction costs incurred by convict labor for projects which are not within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway. In determining the value of convict labor, States should note that the value of paid labor may not exceed the actual cost incurred by the State of local government agency. Convict labor is not volunteer labor or donated labor (which may be valued at fair market value).

Continuing Recreational Use (Land and Water Conservation Fund)

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

(h) (3) Continuing recreational use. At the option of each State, funds apportioned to the State to carry out this section may be treated as Land and Water Conservation Fund apportionments for the purposes of section 6(f)(3) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460 l-8(f)(3)).

At the option of each State, RTP funds may be treated as Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funds for the purposes of Section 6(f)(3) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 [16 U.S.C. 460 l C8(f)(3)]. Section 6(f)(3) is the cornerstone of the U.S. Department of the Interior';s compliance and stewardship efforts to ensure that Federal recreation investments are maintained in public outdoor recreation use in perpetuity. The LWCF grants-in-aid program is administered by the National Park Service (NPS).

Major changes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act may be made in 1999 or 2000. This would affect the authorities and procedures below. If changes are made, this section of program guidance will be revised. Land and Water Conservation Fund was restored after 2000. Updated information is available at http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/.

A State opting to apply Section 6(f)(3) protection will be applying the same level of protection to projects funded under the RTP as applied to acquisition or development projects funded under the LWCF grant-in-aid program. This section assures that once an area is protected by Section 6(f)(3), it is continually maintained in public recreation use unless property of reasonably equivalent usefulness and location of at least equal fair market value is substituted.

Conversions generally occur in the following situations: 1) property interests are conveyed for non-public or non-recreation uses, 2) non-eligible recreation facilities are developed within the project area, or 3) recreation use of the assisted site is terminated.

The State agency administering the RTP must specify which projects will be subject to protection under Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act. A State may opt to protect certain projects and leave others unprotected. However, the State must be consistent in its identification of projects which will be protected. If a State opts to apply Section 6(f)(3) protection, it may not rescind its decision after FHWA authorizes the project. It will be subject to the Department of the Interior's conversion process.

During the identification of projects to be granted Section 6(f)(3) status, the State agency administering the RTP should consult with other Federal, State, and local agencies such as departments of housing, economic development, transportation, etc., to ensure that the other proposed actions do not conflict with the proposed trail and Section 6(f)(3) designation. Where conflicts may occur, efforts should be made to develop the trail and other governmental proposals jointly, and to document any decisions with a Memorandum of Agreement. This will help to reduce possible land use conflicts due to the Section 6(f)(3) designation.

Before Section 6(f)(3) protection can be applied to a trails project under the RTP, the project applicants must have sufficient control and tenure of the project site as specified in the LWCF Manual (Sections 640.1.8 and 640.3.4) in order to provide reasonable assurance that a conversion will not occur without approval of NPS.

States desiring to place a trails project under Section 6(f)(3) protection must submit to the appropriate NPS field office the following information within 60 days of the date of the project agreement:

  1. A copy of the program application.
  2. A narrative description of the project.
  3. A dated project boundary map as described in LWCF Manual Section 660.2.6 which clearly delineates the area to be included under the conversion provisions of Section 6(f)(3).

Upon receipt and review of the above material, the NPS field office will notify the State whether or not the project has been approved for Section 6(f)(3) protection.

The State has the option of applying Section 6(f)(3) protection to the entire trail project even if only a portion is funded through the RTP. However, the minimum area to be protected must be self-sustaining without reliance upon adjoining areas not identified in the scope of the project.

If a State elects to add Section 6(f)(3) protection to projects funded under the RTP, then any conversion to other than public outdoor recreation use must have the approval of the NPS through the LWCF conversion process set forth in 36 CFR 59.3.

Construction Engineering, Planning, and Environmental Costs [Updated July 2, 2008]

Construction engineering costs (including allowable costs for environmental evaluation and documentation, permits, or approvals) may be reimbursed. However, reimbursement will not be permitted for construction costs incurred prior to the date of program authorization by FHWA.

The RTP does not have a limitation on allowable construction engineering costs, nor does the Common Rule. Because there are no Federal statutory or regulatory limitations on allowable construction engineering costs, State laws or regulations must be followed. If there are no State laws or regulations regarding construction engineering costs, then the State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee may provide guidance to the State in accordance with §206(d)(4). This would allow the State to establish its own policy.

Planning Costs [Updated July 2, 2008]

See Planning Costs under Planning Requirements, and Administrative Costs.

Environmental Evaluation and Documentation Costs [Updated July 2, 2008]

A project proposal solely for the purpose of covering environmental evaluation and documentation costs is not eligible for RTP funding under permissible use categories A through G. However, reasonable environmental evaluation and documentation costs--including costs associated with environmental permits and approvals--may be included as part of an approved project's construction engineering costs. The State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee may provide guidance on the extent of allowable construction engineering costs within individual projects.

In some States, the project sponsor may need to comply with environmental documentation requirements before submitting the project application to the State. See RTP Federal Share and Matching Requirements. A State may allow 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 costs incurred prior to project approval. The 18 month limit should assure that planning and environmental documentation is still valid. The limit also encourages timely project approval.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)

Section 1101(b) of TEA-21 places significant emphasis on increasing opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises:

Legislation: TEA-21 Section 1101(b):

Except to the extent that the Secretary determines otherwise, not less than 10 percent of the amounts made available for any program under titles I, III, and V of this Act shall be expended with small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

The RTP is included within title I of TEA-21, therefore, the DBE requirement applies to the RTP. Implementing regulations are found in 49 CFR Part 26.

The objective of the DBE requirement is to provide disadvantaged business enterprises with opportunities to compete for government contracts. The State agency responsible for the RTP is required to have a DBE program which meets 49 CFR Part 26. The State agency responsible for the RTP must submit a DBE program conforming to this part to the FHWA division office (49 CFR 26.21 et seq.). The State is required to make efforts to advise DBEs of the existence of the RTP, and the opportunities associated with it. Each State DOT should have a directory of qualified DBEs. The State agency responsible for the RTP may incorporate the State DOT's directory as its own. See also 49 CFR 26.81 regarding the Unified Certification Program. The State DOT will probably be the lead State agency for this program.

The USDOT's DBE program is not a quota or set-aside program, and it is not intended to operate as one. Section 26.41 makes clear that the 10 percent statutory goal is an aspirational goal at the national level. It does not set any funds aside for any person or group. It does not require any recipient (State, contractor, individual project sponsor) to have specific percentage goals.

States may provide direct RTP grants to project sponsors based on the merits of their project applications. However, if a State provides a large proportion of its grants directly to project sponsors, extra efforts to seek out DBEs for those projects let for competitively bid contracts may be necessary. Many projects bid out for contracts under the RTP are likely to be within the range for which many DBEs are qualified and in which they might be interested in bidding on, either as prime contractors or as subcontractors.

Each financial assistance agreement must include the assurance specified in 49 CFR 26.13.

If a State cannot meet the DBE requirement, it will need to apply for an exemption as provided in 49 CFR 26.15.

If there is evidence of any effort to circumvent the DBE requirement, a violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act could be found.

Prevailing Wage Rate Requirements (Davis-Bacon Act) [Updated July 2, 2008]

See FHWA's Guidance: Applicability of Prevailing Wage Rate Requirements to Federal-aid Construction Projects (June 26, 2008).

Procurement of Federal-aid Construction Projects [Updated July 2, 2008]

See FHWA's Guidance: Procurement of Federal-aid Construction Projects (June 26, 2008).

Recreational Purpose

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

(h) (2) Recreational purpose.A project funded under this section is intended to enhance recreational opportunity and is not subject to section 138 of this title or section 303 of title 49.

Section (h)(2) exempts the RTP from the requirements of Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (23 U.S.C. 138; 49 U.S.C. 303).[28] This allows the USDOT/FHWA to approve RTP projects which are located on land within publicly owned parks or recreation areas without requiring a waiver or other Section 4(f) documentation.

Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act [Updated July 2, 2008]

All project sponsors must comply with the provisions of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended. This Act upholds the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation". Regulations implementing this Act are found in 49 CFR Part 24. These regulations will be applied to evaluating the acquisition of real property and any potential displacement activities. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/uniform_act/.

FHWA generally requires the State to "acquire rights-of-way of such nature and extent as are adequate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a project" (23 CFR 1.23). Most significant Federal-aid investments require the public interest in and access to a Federal-aid project to be in perpetuity. However, the extent of real property interest needed to protect the public interest should relate to the nature and magnitude of the expenditure. For example, if the project has only a minimal investment, a limited property use agreement may be sufficient.

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Tips for Project Sponsors

Each State has its own procedures to solicit and select recreational trails projects for funding. A project sponsor should develop its proposal sufficiently so that the project may move quickly into implementation after project approval.

Potential project sponsors should contact the State to find out the program requirements and criteria for project selection. A project sponsor should:

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Definitions

Other title 23 definitions

The RTP is codified under title 23 U.S.C., therefore some title 23 definitions are relevant to the program:

Legislation: 23 U.S.C. 217 (Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways)

(h) Use Of Motorized Vehicles. Motorized vehicles may not be permitted on trails and pedestrian walkways under this section [217], except for

  1. maintenance purposes;
  2. when snow conditions and State or local regulations permit, snowmobiles;
  3. motorized wheelchairs;
  4. when State or local regulations permit, electric bicycles; and
  5. such other circumstances as the Secretary deems appropriate.

(j) (2) Electric bicycle. The term 'electric bicycle' means any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing under 100 pounds, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour.

(3) Pedestrian. The term 'pedestrian' means any person traveling by foot and any mobility impaired person using a wheelchair.

(4) Wheelchair. The term 'wheelchair' means a mobility aid, usable indoors, and designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or motorized.

The snowmobile and electric bicycle provisions in §217(h)(2) and (3) permit these motorized vehicles on bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkway projects funded with regular Federal-aid highway program funds. However, under the RTP, snowmobiles and electric bicycles are motorized vehicles and may not be counted as nonmotorized uses.

Under the RTP, any person using a wheelchair as defined in §217(j)(4) is a pedestrian. If a project is intended to allow only pedestrians, including people using wheelchairs, the project only may satisfy the 30 percent nonmotorized requirement, but not the diverse requirement.

Maintenance and Official Use. Use of motorized vehicles for official purposes only (emergency, enforcement, maintenance) may be permitted on otherwise nonmotorized trails at the discretion of the appropriate Federal, State, or local officials or land managers. Use of motorized vehicles on a trail for official purposes only on an otherwise nonmotorized trail does not constitute diverse recreational trail use for motorized and nonmotorized trail users. For example, a trail open only for cross-country ski or snowshoe use is still an exclusively nonmotorized trail even if it is maintained with a motorized grooming machine.

Other Definitions

Nonmotorized project for a single use: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of nonmotorized recreational trail use, such as pedestrian only, or equestrian only. Projects serving various pedestrian uses (such as walking, hiking, wheelchair use, running, bird-watching, nature interpretation, backpacking, etc.) constitute a single use for the purposes of this category. Note: wheelchair use by mobility-impaired people, whether operated manually or powered, constitutes pedestrian use, not motorized trail use. Projects serving various nonmotorized human-powered snow uses (such as skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) constitute a single use for this category.

Nonmotorized diverse use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of nonmotorized recreational trail use such as: walking, bicycling, and skating; both pedestrian and equestrian use; or pedestrian use in summer and cross-country ski use in winter.

Diverse use project including both motorized and nonmotorized uses: A project intended to benefit both nonmotorized recreational trail use and motorized recreational trail use. This category includes projects where motorized use is permitted, but is not the predominant beneficiary. This category includes projects where motorized and nonmotorized uses are separated by season, such as equestrian use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. Other examples: a common trailhead project serving separate ATV and bicycle trails; purchasing a machine to groom both snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.

Motorized single use project: A project primarily intended to benefit only one mode of motorized recreational use, such as snowmobile trail grooming. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some nonmotorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude nonmotorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use.

Motorized diverse use project: A project primarily intended to benefit more than one mode of motorized recreational use, such as: motorcycle and ATV use; or ATV use in summer and snowmobile use in winter. A project may be classified in this category if the project also benefits some nonmotorized uses (it is not necessary to exclude nonmotorized uses), but the primary intent must be for the benefit of motorized use.

Qualified Youth Conservation or Service Corps

The definition of a qualified youth conservation or service corps is taken from existing titles and chapters of the United States Code (U.S.C.).

Division C National Service Trust Program

  1. Eligible national service programs
    The recipient of a grant under section 12571(a) of this title and each Federal agency receiving assistance under section 12571(b) of this title shall use the assistance, directly or through subgrants to other entities, to carry out full- or part-time national service programs, including summer programs, that address unmet human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs. Subject to subsection (b)(1) of this section, these national service programs may include the following types of national service programs:
    1. A community corps program that meets unmet human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs and promotes greater community unity through the use of organized teams of participants of varied social and economic backgrounds, skill levels, physical and developmental capabilities, ages, ethnic backgrounds, or genders.
    2. A full-time, year-round youth corps program or full-time summer youth corps program, such as a conservation corps or youth service corps (including youth corps programs under division I of this subchapter, the Public Lands Corps established under the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 (16 U.S.C. 1721 et seq.), the Urban Youth Corps established under section 12656 of this title, and other conservation corps or youth service corps that performs service on Federal or other public lands or on Indian lands or Hawaiian home lands), that:
      1. undertakes meaningful service projects with visible public benefits, including natural resource, urban renovation, or human services projects;
      2. includes as participants youths and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, including out-of-school youths and other disadvantaged youths (such as youths with limited basic skills, youths in foster care who are becoming too old for foster care, youths of limited-English proficiency, homeless youths, and youths who are individuals with disabilities) who are between those ages; and
      3. provides those participants who are youths and young adults with
        1. crew-based, highly structured, and adult-supervised work experience, life skills, education, career guidance and counseling, employment training, and support services; and
        2. the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their community and the United States.
    3. A program that provides specialized training to individuals in service-learning and places the individuals after such training in positions, including positions as service-learning coordinators, to facilitate service-learning in programs eligible for funding under part I of division B of this subchapter.
    4. A service program that is targeted at specific unmet human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs and that
      1. recruits individuals with special skills or provides specialized preservice training to enable participants to be placed individually or in teams in positions in which the participants can meet such unmet needs; and
      2. if consistent with the purposes of the program, brings participants together for additional training and other activities designed to foster civic responsibility, increase the skills of participants, and improve the quality of the service provided.
    5. An individualized placement program that includes regular group activities, such as leadership training and special service projects.
    6. A campus-based program that is designed to provide substantial service in a community during the school term and during summer or other vacation periods through the use of
      1. students who are attending an institution of higher education, including students participating in a work-study program assisted under part C of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.);
      2. teams composed of such students; or
      3. teams composed of a combination of such students and community residents.
    7. A preprofessional training program in which students enrolled in an institution of higher education
      1. receive training in specified fields, which may include classes containing service-learning;
      2. perform service related to such training outside the classroom during the school term and during summer or other vacation periods; and
      3. agree to provide service upon graduation to meet unmet human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs related to such training.
    8. A professional corps program that recruits and places qualified participants in positions
      1. as teachers, nurses and other health care providers, police officers, early childhood development staff, engineers, or other professionals providing service to meet educational, human, environmental, or public safety needs in communities with an inadequate number of such professionals;
      2. that may include a salary in excess of the maximum living allowance authorized in subsection (a)(3) of section 12594 of this title, as provided in subsection (c) of such section; and
      3. that are sponsored by public or private nonprofit employers who agree to pay 100 percent of the salaries and benefits (other than any national service educational award under division D of this subchapter) of the participants.
    9. A program in which economically disadvantaged individuals who are between the ages of 16 and 24 years of age, inclusive, are provided with opportunities to perform service that, while enabling such individuals to obtain the education and employment skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency, will help their communities meet
      1. the housing needs of low-income families and the homeless; and
      2. the need for community facilities in low-income areas.
    10. A national service entrepreneur program that identifies, recruits, and trains gifted young adults of all backgrounds and assists them in designing solutions to community problems.
    11. An intergenerational program that combines students, out-of-school youths, and older adults as participants to provide needed community services, including an intergenerational component for other national service programs described in this subsection.
    12. A program that is administered by a combination of nonprofit organizations located in a low-income area, provides a broad range of services to residents of such area, is governed by a board composed in significant part of low-income individuals, and is intended to provide opportunities for individuals or teams of individuals to engage in community projects in such area that meet unaddressed community and individual needs, including projects that would:
      1. meet the needs of low-income children and youth aged 18 and younger, such as providing after-school safe-places, including schools, with opportunities for learning and recreation; or
      2. be directed to other important unaddressed needs in such area.
    13. A community service program designed to meet the needs of rural communities, using teams or individual placements to address the development needs of rural communities and to combat rural poverty, including health care, education, and job training.
    14. A program that seeks to eliminate hunger in communities and rural areas through service in projects
      1. involving food banks, food pantries, and nonprofit organizations that provide food during emergencies;
      2. involving the gleaning of prepared and unprepared food that would otherwise be discarded as unusable so that the usable portion of such food may be donated to food banks, food pantries, and other nonprofit organizations;
      3. seeking to address the long-term causes of hunger through education and the delivery of appropriate services; or
      4. providing training in basic health, nutrition, and life skills necessary to alleviate hunger in communities and rural areas.
    15. Such other national service programs addressing unmet human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs as the Corporation may designate.

Division J Miscellaneous

Sec. 12656. Urban Youth Corps

  1. Findings
    The Congress finds the following:
    1. The rehabilitation, reclamation, and beautification of urban public housing, recreational sites, youth and senior centers, and public roads and public works facilities through the efforts of young people in the United States in an Urban Youth Corps can benefit these youths, while also benefitting their communities, by
      1. providing them with education and work opportunities;
      2. furthering their understanding and appreciation of the challenges faced by individuals residing in urban communities; and
      3. providing them with a means to pay for higher education or to repay indebtedness they have incurred to obtain higher education.
    2. A significant number of housing units for low-income individuals in urban areas has become substandard and unsafe and the deterioration of urban roadways, mass transit systems, and transportation facilities in the United States have contributed to the blight encountered in many cities in the United States.
    3. As a result, urban housing, public works, and transportation resources are in need of labor intensive rehabilitation, reclamation, and beautification work that has been neglected in the past and cannot be adequately carried out by Federal, State, and local government at existing personnel levels.
    4. Urban youth corps have established a good record of rehabilitating, reclaiming, and beautifying these kinds of resources in a cost-efficient manner, especially when they have worked in partnership with government housing, public works, and transportation authorities and agencies.
  2. Purpose
    It is the purpose of this section
    1. to perform, in a cost-effective manner, appropriate service projects to rehabilitate, reclaim, beautify, and improve public housing and public works and transportation facilities and resources in urban areas suffering from high rates of poverty where work will not be performed by existing employees;
    2. to assist government housing, public works, and transportation authorities and agencies;
    3. to expose young people in the United States to public service while furthering their understanding and appreciation of their community;
    4. to expand educational opportunity for individuals who participate in the Urban Youth Corps established by this section by providing them with an increased ability to pursue post-secondary education or job training; and
    5. to stimulate interest among young people in the United States in lifelong service to their communities and the United States.
  3. Definitions
    For purposes of this section:
    1. Appropriate service project
      The term "appropriate service project" means any project for the rehabilitation, reclamation, or beautification of urban public housing and public works and transportation resources or facilities.
    2. Corps and Urban Youth Corps
      The term "Corps" and "Urban Youth Corps" mean the Urban Youth Corps established under subsection (d)(1) of this section.
    3. Qualified urban youth corps
      The term "qualified urban youth corps" means any program established by a State or local government or by a nonprofit organization that
      1. is capable of offering meaningful, full-time, productive work for individuals between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, in an urban or public works or transportation setting;
      2. gives participants a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training, and support services; and
      3. provides participants with the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their communities and the United States.

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Abbreviations and Acronyms

AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
ABA Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
ADAAG Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.
ATV All-terrain vehicle.
BLM Bureau of Land Management (U.S. Department of the Interior).
CFR Code of Federal Regulations (Regulations of Federal agencies).
CMAQ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.
DOI Department of the Interior.
DOJ Department of Justice.
DOT Department of Transportation.
FHWA Federal Highway Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation).
FMIS FHWA Fiscal Management Information System.
FR Federal Register (A publication of official Federal Government announcements).
FTA Federal Transit Administration.
FY Fiscal Year. The Federal FY is from October 1 to September 30.
ISTEA Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.
LWCF Land and Water Conservation Fund (Act of 1965).
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization (for urbanized areas over 50,000 population).
MUTCD Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act (of 1969).
NHS National Highway System (260,000 km of primary roads in the United States).
NHS Act National Highway System Designation Act of 1995.
NPS National Park Service (U.S. Department of the Interior).
OMB U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
Pub. L. Public Law.
RTCA Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service.
RTP Recreational Trails Program.
SCORP Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
STIP State Transportation Improvement Program.
STP Surface Transportation Program.
TE, TEA Transportation Enhancement Activity, authorized for 10 percent of the STP Program.
TEA-21 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.
TIP Transportation Improvement Program.
UFAS Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards.
U.S.C. United States Code (Federal statute).
USFS U.S. Forest Service (Department of Agriculture).
4(f) Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (23 U.S.C. 138; 49 U.S.C. 303).
6(f) Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.


[1] Under ' 1103(n) of TEA-21, territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) are not eligible to receive apportionments under the Recreational Trails Program. Puerto Rico received funds in FY 1993, but did not meet eligibility requirements in FY 1996 or 1997.

[2] The Small State Exclusion ( ' 206(d)(3)(B)) does not exempt small States from the requirement to have both motorized and nonmotorized representation on the State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee.

[3] If the State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee exempts the State from either or both of the 30 percent requirements, the State must forward a record of the decision to the FHWA division office, and the FHWA division office must forward a copy to the FHWA Headquarters program office.

[4] A State may certify that it will conform with these requirements unless the State Recreational Trail Advisory Committee votes to exempt the State from this requirement.

[5] Legislation from 31 U.S.C. 1552:

Procedure for appropriation accounts available for definite periods

On September 30th of the 5th fiscal year after the period of availability for obligation of a fixed appropriation account ends, the account shall be closed and any remaining balance (whether obligated or unobligated) in the account shall be canceled and thereafter shall not be available for obligation or expenditure for any purpose.

[6] Educational costs do not need to be split 40-30-30. For example, a State may use all of its educational funds for a motorized trail safety program. This safety program may count toward the 30 percent motorized requirement.

[7] For example, if there are insufficient eligible motorized projects at the end of FY 1999 to meet the 30 percent requirement, a State may obligate 70 percent for the diverse and nonmotorized categories and also obligate funds for any eligible motorized projects, and then reserve the remaining funds for motorized use. A State also may obligate 70 percent of the FY 2000 funds (after receiving the FY 2000 apportionment) for diverse or nonmotorized projects. The State should obligate the remaining FY 1999 and 2000 funds for eligible motorized projects as they are developed. However, the State should try to obligate all available funds each fiscal year in case there is not sufficient obligation limitation available in future years.

[8] For example, if a State used 10% of its funds for single use nonmotorized projects, 35% on diverse nonmotorized projects, 20% on diverse projects for both motorized and nonmotorized use, 5% on single use motorized projects, and 30% on diverse motorized projects, then it would have used 45% on nonmotorized projects, 35% on motorized projects, and 85% on diverse projects. The State would meet all the requirements. A project benefitting both motorized and nonmotorized use where motorized use does not predominate would qualify under the diverse category, but not under the motorized or nonmotorized categories.

[9] 23 U.S.C. 120(b) provides for additional Federal share under the Federal-aid highway program in States with large amounts of Federal lands in proportion to the total land area within the State. This is known as the "sliding scale" provision. The FHWA division and State DOT can provide this percentage for a particular State.

[10] For example:

[11] This particular program exists only in Pennsylvania, but other similar heritage program funds exist in other States.

[12] Except for individual projects funded under the Programmatic Non-Federal Share provision. However, the sum of a State's RTP projects calculated under this provision must meet the 20 percent minimum non-Federal share.

[13] Except the total Federal share for a project sponsored by a Federal agency is limited to 95 percent by the Federal Agency Project Sponsor provision.

[14] Note: The RTP legislation is more permissive than the Federal highway program legislation in 23 U.S.C. 323.

[15] Program 384 was for on-the-ground projects; 38B for State administrative costs; 38C for educational costs.

[16] Example: Given a $100,000 RTP project, where $50,000 is the allowable cost for right-of-way and materials and $50,000 is allowable for public agency labor, then, of the total $100,000 cost, the Federal share payable from the RTP is $80,000. The public agency pays $100,000 in cash (for right-of-way, materials, and labor) and submits a voucher for an $80,000 reimbursement.

Given a $100,000 project where $50,000 is for materials, $35,000 is allowable public labor, and $15,000 is the allowable value of private volunteer labor, the Federal share payable from the RTP is still $80,000. The public agency pays $85,000 cash, claims the $15,000 value of the private volunteer labor, and submits a voucher for $80,000.

Given a $100,000 project where $20,000 is for materials, $30,000 is privately donated materials, $20,000 is allowable public labor, and $30,000 is private volunteer labor, in this case, the Federal RTP payment is limited to $40,000, because the cash outlay was only $40,000. This would be a case of the private in-kind match exceeding the Federal share.

[17] 206(d)(3)(B), the Small State Exclusion, exempts Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Island from the 30 percent motorized and 30 percent nonmotorized requirements. No documentation is required from these States for this waiver provision.

[18] FHWA divisions should develop an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regional office for joint STIP approval when RTP projects are added into the STIP.

[19] Draft RTP legislation prior to the enactment of TEA-21 would have required RTP projects to be included in State and metropolitan transportation plans and programs. This proposed requirement within the RTP was deleted from the final legislation. However, the RTP was included in chapter 2 (23 U.S.C. 206), and was not exempted from the transportation planning requirements. Therefore, the overall transportation planning legislation takes precedent.

[20] If a State uses less than 7 percent of its apportionment for administrative costs, the 40-30-30 requirements apply to the full amount funded under the other categories. For example, if a State uses only 4 percent of its apportionment for administrative costs, the 40-30-30 requirements apply to the remaining 96 percent.

[21] The National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee approved the following statement on December 2, 1992: The terms 'trailside' and 'trailhead facilities' mean trail components or associated facilities which serve the purpose and safe use of the recreational trail and may include but not be limited to the following: 1) Drainage, 2) Crossings, 3) Stabilization, 4) Parking, 5) Signage, 6) Controls, 7) Shelters, and 8) Water, Sanitary, and Access Facilities.

[22] Some States, by their own State policy or regulation, restrict subgrants to public agencies and do not provide grants to private organizations. Some States provide grants to private nonprofit tax-exempt organizations, but do not provide grants to other private organizations.

[23] For more information on youth conservation and service corps, or to obtain a list of potential corps organizations, contact the Corps Network, Suite 1000, 666 11th St NW, Washington DC 20001-4542. Phone: 202-737-6272; Fax: 202-737-6277; Email: nascc@corpsnetwork.org.

[24] See http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003/part9/part9-toc.htm.

[25] From the PREFACE of Standard Highway Signs: Except where a STANDARD AND MINIMUM sign size is specified, signs smaller than STANDARD and shown in that tables [sic] as MINIMUM may sometimes be justified on local streets and secondary roads having low volume, low speed and no special hazard. Indiscriminate use of minimum-sized signs is to be avoided. The necessary design information for these MINIMUM sizes is presented as a guide to sign fabrication only in the interest of uniformity. Application criteria for all signs are specified in the MUTCD. See http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/ser-shs_millennium.htm.

[26] Federal-aid highways include the National Highway System (which includes Interstate highways), and all roads functionally classified as principal arterials, minor arterials, urban collectors, and rural major collectors.

[27] Federal-aid highways include the National Highway System (which includes Interstate highways), and all roads functionally classified as principal arterials, minor arterials, urban collectors, and rural major collectors.

[28] Section 4(f) is codified in 23 U.S.C. 138 and 49 U.S.C. 303 with some variations in the language. As codified in 23 U.S.C. 138: ...the Secretary shall not approve any program or project (other than any project for a park road or parkway under section 204 of this title) which requires the use of any publicly owned land from a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge...unless (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of such land, and (2) such program includes all possible planning to minimize harm... Section 4(f) was intended to protect public parks and recreation areas from becoming prime locations for highway projects, and did not anticipate programs such as the Recreational Trails Program that were intended to benefit the park or recreation area.

Updated: 10/10/2014
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