The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP is an assistance program of the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Federal transportation funds benefit recreation including hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) reauthorized the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) through Federal fiscal years 2013 and 2014 as a setaside from the Transportation Alternatives Program. The amount set aside is equal to the State's FY 2009 RTP apportionment. (From FY 1993 through FY 2012, the RTP funds were distributed to the States by legislative formula: half of the funds were distributed equally among all States, and half were distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of nonhighway recreational fuel use in each State.) See Funding Levels by State.
The RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from nonhighway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks.
Each State administers its own program. Contact your State RTP Administrator for guidance on State policies and project eligibility requirements.
The Recreational Trails Program Project Database lists most RTP projects funded from 1993 through 2013. The 2014 RTP Annual Report describes how the States used RTP funds. The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) recognizes outstanding RTP projects through its Annual Achievement Awards.
MAP-21 Section 1524 requires the US Department of Transportation to encourage States and regional transportation planning agencies to use qualified youth service and conservation corps to perform appropriate transportation-related projects. See the Creating Access to Opportunity: Strengthening Transportation Career Pathways & Youth Workforce Development Partnerships Through Service Fact Sheet (HTML / PDF) and the related Creating Access to Opportunity Webinar and the Webinar Slides (HTML / PDF).